Skip to main content

Full text of "The Silappadikaram"

See other formats



J^y the same ntiihor 

Hmi>u Administrative Institutions 
" ruE Mauryan Polity 
Some Asjpects of jt-ih Va\i7 Puraxa 
T HE Matsya Furana 

Studies in Xamil Literature ant> His'I'ok\ iSi ' caj 2 d ethtitin \ 
'The aho've published hy the I " tiirc f'st ly at 
BhAradvajasiks*^ (doz^eyntnofif Oriental Series, f^oona, 


cecZ h:y JS>eT"^izsszotz of th& JBt -zitsfi. ct’^nd JO*' -rf . A' Coo'nt€ir€tstf€t>n‘y 




With ax Introduction and Notes 


L^ecfiirer in Indian History and Archaeology 
Unizfersity of Madras 

With a Foreword bv 







AMElSr MOUSE,. E.O. 4 




EuMI-XSME 3 E^ to tme 



'p^4,bZ£^h^d[r xg3^ 

JF*-3rtrx±ed ti'Z- Zr^dicx 








1 BELIEVE there is no need to introduce Mr V. R. 
Ramachandra Dikshitar to the public, which knows him 
already and favourably. If, however, I have accepted 
the honour of writing" a foreword to the present book, it 
is to lay stress on its special character, and to plead for 
more works of a similar nature. 

Its significance will clearly appear if we follow the 
progress of the author’s researches. At the start, as a 
research scholar in history, Mr Dikshitar devoted his first 
studies to the old Hindu administrative institutions ; his 
ambition was to give a synthetic survey of them, including 
the theories of Kautalya and the traditional law-books, and 
also the actual practices of the sovereigns. Here, of 
('oursc!, Asoka comes into prominence. Mr Dikshitar in 
this connexion happily considers old Tamil institutions. 
But he finds this last-mentioned subject in itself worthy 
of further and deeper investigation ; to quote Mr 
Dikshitar’ s own words, he ‘felt more and more the need 
for an intrinsic study of the priceless literary treasures of 
Tamil’. Hence a set of essays which formed the basis 
of his useful hook. Studies in Tamil Literature and 
History now in its .second edition. Here general state- 
ments and hypotheses are not altogether lacking, and 
therefore the author does not completely escape from cri- 
ticism. But, happily, facts and an analysis of contents find 
a large {^lace, and there is a progressive disappearance of 
the historian behind the materials of history. In praising 
this book at the time, T regretted that instead of short 
notices of the contents, especially of the more archaic 
works, w'e were not also offered long or even complete 
translations. Now Mr Dikshitar himself has come to 

viii Foreword 

that same necessary conclusion ; the historian has resorted 
to the more difficult and often ungrateful, but also more 
beneficent, task of translation. Let the reader have the 
plainest possible access to the text ; help him with all the 
needed current explanations, and reserve personal inductions 
for the introductory survey. This will be a boon not only 
to the student of history but also to the literary man and to 
everybody interested in Tamilian culture. And this means 
many people at a time when so much is being done, not 
only to assert India’s culture before the world, but also to 
make India known to herself, and to show in their true 
light the various original civilizations which all together 
form Indian civilization. 

Among them the Tamil country can boast of an antique 
and original culture. A picture of India, historical or 
literary, will not be complete if due importance is not 
attached to it ; no more than a physical description of India 
will be complete if rocky Deccan and southern deltas or 
backwaters are omitted. 

But how many are there who have access and are able 
to enjoy or usefully con.sult Tamil literary works, especially 
the older ones? It is a matter of common knowledge that 
only a few can do so even among those born in the Tamil 
country. On those few lies the responsibility of helping 
their compatriots to appreciate those works which are the 
particular glory and the inspiration of their country, and 
to give outsiders a faithful rendering of them. 

Scholars themselves will be benefited by that work. 
Need I recall what progress in Sanskrit studies has been 
due to translations from Sanskrit into European languages, 
and primarily into English? And to those interested in 
furthering the cultural unity of India, need T recall that 
those periods of history when translations were most 
numerous were also periods of unification and progress? 

This is my plea, and the reason why I have great 
pleasure in recommending this present new departure of a 



historian. Let me also take advantage of this opportunity 
to mention that already in 1900 Prof, Julian Vinson, in his 
JLSgendes Bouddhistes et D' Jains, re^nder^d into French the 
analysis given by M ahamahopadhyay a Swaminatha Aiyar 
of both the Silappadikdram and the Manimehalai and added 
his own full translation of three cantos^ of the former. 

I could dilate longer on this and similar topics. Better 
do 1 invite readers to take advantage of this beautiful 
poem and treatise in its present garb, and compatriots of 
Mr Dikshitar to emulate him in translating fully as many 
old poems as possible, especially those of the :Sangam, 
where there probably is still much to be discovered. 

College de France JuuKS BnocH 

March 1939 

^ Cantos xvi-xvih, nnd also padikam. 


Some time after the publication of my book Studies m 
Tamil Literature and History, in 1930, Mr F. J. Richards, 
formerly of the Indian Civil Service, wrote to me suggesting 
that I should undertake the writing of a handbook on 
the History of Tamil Literature. He also pointed out 
the desirability of publishing a series of critical editions 
of the Tamil classics with English translations and annota- 
tions. He wrote : ‘I have no hesitation in pressing for 
English editions, for the reason that Tamil is almost a 
sealed book to all who are not Tamilians, and it is a pity 
that the rest of India does not realize the importance of 
the Tamil contribution to Indian culture. We can only 
be made to do so by publishing for a wider circle of readers, 
and English is the most handy medium for this publicity 
both in India and elsewhere.’ This letter of Mr 
Richards induced me to undertake the rather stupendous 
task of attempting" an almost literal translation of the most 
difficult of Tamil classics, the Silappadikdrani. 

The translation is based on Mahamahopadhyaya Dr 
V. Swaminatha Aiyar’s Tamil edition of the Silappadi- 
kdrani . I have to acknowledge my indebtedness to this 
scholarly and critical work of the Mahamahopadhyaya. I 
have also derived immense benefit from Rao Sahib Pundit 
M. Raghava Aiyangar whom I have had to consult fre- 
quently in the course of preparing this work. My thanks 
are also due to several colleagues in the departments of 
the University and other friends who have been of help 
to me in one way or another. 

To Professor Jules Bloch I acknowledge my particular 
indebtedness for the Foreword he has written. 

T must also express my gratitude to the Madras School- 



book and Literature Society for their g-enerous contribution 
towards the publication of the book. 

I shall feel my labour amply rewarded if the book helps 
to spread Tamil culture in India and abroad. 

20 April igsg 

V. R. Ramachandra Dikshitar 



INTRODUCTION ... ... ... ... 1 


II. manaiyarampatuttakAdai ... ... ... 92 

III. arangerrukAdai ... ... ... 97 

IV. antimAlaiSSirappucceykAdai ... ... 106 


VI. KADALADUKADAI ... ... ... 122 

VII. KAUALVARI ... ... ... ... 131 

VIII. vejjirkadai ... ... ... .. ••• 14:5 

IX. kanAttiramuraittakAdai ... ... .•■ 151 

X. nADUKANKADAI ... ... ... ... 156 

XI. kADUKANKADAI ... — 171 

XII. VETTUVAVARI .. •• ••• 180 


XIV. ORKANKADAI... ... .- ... 199 

XV. apaikkalakkAdai ... ... ... ... 209 

XVI. koeaikkalakkAdai ... ... ... 219 

XVII. acciyarkuravai ... ... ... 228 


XIX. ORStJpVARl ... ■■■ 242 

XX. vaeakkuraikAdai ... ... ... 246 

XXI. VANJINAMAEAI ... ... 251 

XXII. AEASPATUKADAI ... .- ■■■ 255 

XXIII. KATTURAIKADAI ... ... ••• 262 


XXIV. KUI^RAKKURAVAl ... ■•. 275 

XXV. kATGIKKADAI ... .- 283 

XXVI. KALKOtkAdai ... ... ”• 292 










.. 327 
• •• 337 
-- 375 


A ham. 

A handnuru 

Anc. Ind. 

Ancient India 

An. Rep. Ep. 

Annual Report for Epigraphy 

Ar. Sds. 

Artlia Sdstra 


Archaeological Survey of India 

Bhaga. pur. 

Bhdgavata pier an a 


Ceylon Antiquary 


Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum 

Ep. Ind. 

Epigraphia Indica 

Ep. Z. 

Epigraphia Zeylancia 


Indian Historical Quarterly 

Ind. Ant. 

Indian Antiquary 


J Ivaka cinidmani 


Journal of Indian History 


Journal of Oriental Research 


Journal of Royal Asiatic Society 








Memoirs of Archaeological Survey 





Pur am. 


Pura. Venba. 

Purapporidven bd m dlai 


Perumpdndrrupa dai 

Raghu . 


Sila . 

Silappadikdrani ( Tamil Edition) 


South Indian Inscriptions 


T olhdppiy am 


Travancore Archaeological Series 

Vis. pur. 

Vishnu Purdna 


Zeitschrift der fndologic imd Iranstick 









The term 3ilappadikdram is made up of two words, 
silanibu and adikdram. Literally the title means ‘the story 
that centres around a silambu or anklet’. The hero and the 
heroine of the story, Kdvalan and Kann.aki, set out for 
Madura to dispose of a silambu and thereby raise the 
capital needed to pursue a trade. In the bazaar street 
of Madura Kovalan meets the state goldsmith. The 
state goldsmith who has stolen the queen’s anklet 
(similar to that in Kovalan’s hand) reports to the king that 
he has found the thief. The king blindly believes the 
goldsmith and has poor Kdvalan executed. The heroine 
proves to the king her husband’s innocence by breaking 
open her other anklet and showing that the contents of 
her anklets are different from those of the queen. The 
Pandyan king dies of grief on realizing his blunder in 
having ordered the execution of Kovalan without proper 
investigation. Kannaki destroys the city of Madura by 
lire to avenge the execution of her husband, and is finally 
proclaimed the goddess of chastity. As the story thus 
centres round the Hlambu, it can appropriately be named 
the Epic of the Anklet. 

One among the five perumkdppiyams {inahdkdvyas of 
Sanskrit literature), the Silappadikdram may come under 
the category of iotarnilaicceyyul and in it we find iyal, 
isai, and ndtakam as its chief characteristics, lyal, isai, 
and ndtakam mean, respectively. Literary Tamil, Music, 
and the Drama. There will be no two opinions about 
the excellence of the literary Tamil of the epic ; and as 
regards the other two characteristics, isai and ndtakam, the 



work may be described as a model of ancient Tamil musical 
and dramatic composition. A wealth of material is found 
scattered throughout the work. One is struck with wonder 
at the isaippaUu or the lyric songs in which the author not 
infrequently indulges. The songs of Kovalan and Madavi 
on the seaside {kdnalvari) are full of lyric charm. Equally 
charming are the songs sung in honour of the deity at the 
Aiyyaikottam, the songs of the dycciyar (cowherdesses) in 
their kuravaikkuttu, and the songs of the hill-women in 
honour of Murugan (Subrahmanya). 

Though iyal and isai are prominent in the pages of the 
work, the epic contains positive elements which go to 
make up a dramatic composition, with the result that it 
can also be styled, appropriately, a ndtakakkdppiyaiu. 
Adopting the modern terminology for the classification of 
dramatic literature, we may say that this epic is a tragi- 
comedy. The tragic elements preponderate in the story. 
The separation of Kannaki from her husband, her ominous 
dream, the equally fearful dream of Kdvalan, the journey 
of the couple through wild forests, the unjust execution 
of Kovalan, and Kannaki’s inconsolable distress, the 
Pandyan’s great grief at the injustice perpetrated by him, 
the plucking out by Kannaki of one of her breasts, the 
burning of the city, the death of the Pandyan king and 
queen, are all tragic elements in the story. Notwithstand- 
ing these tragic elements which evoke the reader’s sym- 
pathy and tears, the ending is happy. Both the wronged 
persons attain Heaven in a celestial car surrounded and 
celebrated by gods. 


The form adopted is that of the kdvya or kdppiyani 
of Tamil literature. There are excellent descriptions of 
rivers like the Vaigai and the Kaveri, of cities like Puhar 
and Madura, of forms of dancing like the kuravaikkiliizi, 
like Vi.snu, of wild forests, of the celebration of 



marriages, etc., all affording data for reconstructing the 
ancient Tamil social life. Ilango-Adigal himself calls the 
work in his preface (padikam) pdttudaicceyyul or uraiyi- 
daiyitta pditudaicceyyul. This Tamil phrase is a free 
rendering- of the Sanskrit term campu. Compositions like 
this contain at frequent intervals uraippdttu (rhetorical 
prose). A good example of campu litei'ature in Tamil is 
the Bdratam of Perumdevanar. 



In the fifties of the second century a.d. there lived in 
the city of Puhar, which was the capital city of the great 
Karikalaccolaii, two merchant princes who had respectively 
a son and a daughter, d'he son went by the name of 
Kovalan, and the daughter by that of Kannaki. At 
their respective ages of sixteen and twelve, their parents 
had them married according to the fire-rites prescribed in 
Vedic literature. Soon a separate establishment was 
set up for them and the young couple spent some time to- 
gether happily. One day when Kovalan was passing 
through the busy streets of Puhar, he happened to cast 
his eyes upon Madavi, a charming courtesan of the city, 
who had just won her laurels from the king- of the land. 
Kovalan having fallen in love with her, left his home and 
lived with the courtesan until he had wasted upon her the 
whole of his wealth. There then came the festival sacred 
to Tndra, the God of Heaven. All Puhar celebrated it 
with pomp and splendour. The lovers spent their even- 
ings in the park on the seashore entertaining themselves 
with music. A song of Madavi made Kovalan suspect 
that she had thoughts of another lover. This caused 
a change in his feelings towards her. With wounded 
pride he left her, as he intended, for good. He came 
home and opened his heart to his sorrow-stricken wife. 



He explained the circumstances he was in, and told her 
of his resolution to leave the city for Madura to earn his 
livelihood. Kannaki who was a strict observer of the 
rules laid down for chaste wives, and who practised them 
to their very letter, welcomed the suggestion, and sought 
permission to follow him wherever he might go. He 
spoke to her of the difficulties of traversing on foot forest 
belts and mountain-tracts full of wild animals and haunted 
by evil spirits bent on mischief. All this could not per- 
suade her to stay at home. Her only desire was to share 
his weal and woe, and he finally assented to her earnest 

With Kaiinaki, whose only remaining jewels were the 
pair of anklets, he set out for Madura early before day- 
break so that no one might come to know of their w'here- 
abouts. His idea was to dispose of a silambii in the 
bazaar at Madura, and with the capital raised thereby to 
set up some business. Kovalan and Kannaki passed 
along the northern bank of the Kaveri towards the west 
and reached a grove. Here they met Kavundi, the cele- 
brated woman ascetic doing penance, and bowed to her. 
She offered to accompany them and show them the right 
path to Madura and they gladly accepted her kind offer. 
All the three crossed over to the southern bank of the 
Kaveri by boat and reached Uraiyur, the other capital of 
the Cola kingdom. 

Having stayed a day there, the three proceeded to- 
wards Madura. On the way Kovalan met a certain Kau- 
sikan who was bringing a message of regret from Madavi 
to Kovalan. Kausikan communicated to Kovalan Ma- 
davi’s protestations of her love for him. But Kovalan 
sent the messenger to his own parents and asked him to 
deliver the same letter to them so that they might be 
relieved of their poignant distress at his secret departure. 
Passing on, the couple and Kavundi reached the river 
Vaigai and crossing it by boat, they reached the outskirts 



of the city of Madura. Here they came upon Madari, 
a cowherdess of the city, to whom Kavundi introduced 
KSvalan and Kannaki. She was requested to accommo- 
date them until Kovalan was able to stand on his own 
legs. To this Madari agreed, and the couple repaired 
to her cottage. Kavundi chose to stay outside the city 
discussing questions of religion and philosophy with sages 
residing there. 

Madari left Kannaki in the company of her daughter 
Aiyai. Helped by Aiyai, Kannaki prepared dinner for 
herself and her husband of which the couple partook. 
Kovalan then took one of her anklets and went towards 
the bazaar to sell it. It was an inauspicious hour when he 
started, but of this he was not aware. In the bazaar he 
met the state goldsmith to whom he showed the anklet 
and offered to sell it for a fair price. 

This goldsmith, who had stolen the queen’s anklet 
sometime before, thought it a good opportunity to accuse 
Kovalan of the theft of the queen’s jewel and proclaim 
himself innocent. He therefore readily consented to 
Kovalan ’s proposal, and leaving him in his cottage, 
went post-haste to the palace, informed the king that 
he had found out the thief who had stolen the queen’s 
anklet, and handed it over to the king. Without 
bestowing a moment’s thought on the matter, the king 
ordered his executioners to behead the thief. Followed 
by the goldsmith, the executioners came to the cottage 
where Kovalan was. Moved by his innocent looks they 
hesitated at first to carry out the king’s order, until the 
goldsmith treated them to a lecture on the theory and 
practice of thieving. Thereupon one among the party' 
of executioners, more cruel than his companions, beheaded 

In the meantime Madari, who noticed evil omens por- 
tending danger, arranged for a kuravaikkuttu in honour of 
Visnu and Pinnai. The hfiUu being over, Madari went to 



the river for her bath. There she heard people talking 
about the slaughter of the innocent Kovalan. She shook 
with fear, ran home and informed her kith and kin. 
Noticing the sorrow-stricken faces, and hence feeling 
uneasy, Kannaki asked them to give her news of her 
husband. Though none of them had the heart to break 
the shocking news, her persistence made one of them 
yield to her repeated entreaties. The rude shock, and the 
agony which she could hardly endure distracted her. 
She raved like a mad woman, fell down on the earth, rose 
up and sobbed aloud in anguish. Though it was late in 
the night she went to the bazaar to have a look at her hus- 
band. She found him in a pool of blood gushing out of 
his wounds. Her grief knew no bounds. She cried till 
she seemed to see Kovalan rise up to go to Heaven say- 
ing to her ‘Stay here’. 

She could no longer endure the wrong done to her 
innocent husband. All her grief was now turned into 
anger against the king. She went to the palace ami 
demanded proper justice at his hands. She narrated her 
case, proved by her other anklet how the one supposed 
to have been stolen by Kovalan was hers and not the 
queen’s, and showed how the goldsmith had deceived 
him. At this the just and repentant king fell into a 
swoon which ended in his death. It was no consolation 
to poor Kannaki whose innocent husband had been irre- 
trievably wronged. She plucked out her left breast and 
threw it over the city cursing that the city be consumed 
by flames. The god of fire brought destruction to all 
except the Brahman sages, cows, chaste women, children 
and the aged. The guardian deity of Madura at this 
time presented herself before Kannaki and narrated to 
her how in his previous birth Kovalan was Baratan, in 
the service of Vasu, king of ^ingapura, who had killed 
an innocent merchant, Sangaman by name, .suspecting 
him to be a spy, and that was why he now had this fate. 



Asked as to Kannaki’s future, the deity replied that on the 
fourteenth day from that hour she would go to Heaven 
invited by her husband in a celestial car. 

Kannaki thereupon left Madura and proceeding west 
to the Malainadu reached Murugavel-kunram (the hill 
sacred to Muruga) which she ascended. There she stood 
under the shade of a vengai tree to the wonder of the 
people of the place, most of whom were Kuravas. When 
every one of them was looking at her, Kannaki left the 
place in the celestial car for Heaven. This they reported 
to Senguttuvan, their king. The poet Sattanar, who was 
there, narrated the events that had happened in Madura. 
The queen desired that a temple should be set up in hon- 
our of Kannaki. :^enguttuvan who had been thinking for 
a long time of leading a military expedition to the north 
to subdue the refractory chieftains there, resolved to secure 
a block of stone from the Himalayas to carve out an image 
of the Pattinikkadavul as they called her. So he started 
on his northern expedition through the Nilgiris. 

In the meantime there was a famine in the Pan<^yan 
kingdom due to continuous drought. Ilamjeliyan, the 
Pandyan at Korkai, offered a sacrifice of i,ooo gold- 
smiths to the Pattinikkadavul, and the country had plenti- 
ful showers of rain. Hearing this, the kings of Kongu- 
mandalam, of Ceylon, and of Uraiyur dedicated temples to 
Kannaki and instituted daily worship and festivals. At 
this time, it may be noted, Gajabahu was the king of 
Ceylon and PerunarkiUi was the Cola king at Uraiyur. 

After defeating the northern kings Kanaka and Vijaya. 
Senguttuvan brought a stone from the Himalayas and after 
bathing it in the Ganges returned home. A temple was 
consecrated to the Pattinikkadavul and was endowed for 
daily worship. The consecration ceremony was attended 
by eminent kings including those of Malva and Ceylon. 
After this, on the advice of the Brahman Madalan, the 
king engaged himself in the performance of Yajhas or 

8 Introduction 

Vedic sacrifices and spent the evening of his life in peace 
and prayer. 



To find a way out of the tangled forest of South 
Indian chronology is a very intricate task. This is 
especially true of the ^angam works. The question of 
the dates of the Sangam works has been discussed.^ 
Roughly speaking the 5angam epoch may be assigned to 
a period commencing with the fifth century B.c. and end- 
ing with the fourth century A.D. The Silappadikdram 
belongs to this epoch and is an accredited 5angam work, 
as is also the other work of that class, the Manimckalai. 
Both these belong to the category of the great Epics 
(mahdkavyas) of which five are distinguished. 
twin epics, the ^ilappadikdrani and the Manhuchalai, can 
be likened in certain respects to the Rdmdyana and the 
Mahdbhdrata, and are invaluable sources for re-contruct- 
ing the history of the ancient Tamil land. 

The date of the classic deserves an independent 
examination. This epic, which is very ancient in age, is 
quoted as an authority even by ancient commentators like 
the commentator of the Iraiyand?- Ahappond and Uraiya- 
siriyar (Ilampuranar). In the of choice words and in 
terseness of expression the book is unrivalled. Yet the 
style is simple though polished. Ornate in expression, 
it has also grace and simplicity. It has already been 
mentioned that this epic is a treatise on the threefold 
classification of the Tamil language — Literary Tamil, 
Music and the Drama. Beginning with the drama, we 
have uraippdtUi or rhetorical prose compositions. The 
varied forms of musical composition such as kanalvari 
(sea-song), vettuvavari (hill-song), drruvari (river-song), 

^ V, R. R. Dikshitar, Studies in Tc^mil Literature and History^ 2nd ed. 



usalvari (song to accompany swinging), and kandukavari 
(song sung by girls while playing with balls) are worthy 
of note in the pages of the work. The distinguishing 
traits of the literary Tamil — venhd and ahavarpd or ahaval 
— are prominently seen. Of all the metres used in the 
poem, ahavarpd or blank verse is the metrical form most 
frequently used.^ Thus the Silappadikdram is an excel- 
lent example of ilakkiyam or Tamil poetry. It may be 
noted in this connexion that the early works on music and 
drama have been lost beyond recovery. The :Silappadi- 
kdram may, however, be said to represent in a way the 
earlier musical and dramatic pieces. It thus takes a 
legitimate place among the extant Sangam works and 
is very valuable to the historian of South India. But 
the most conclusive argument in respect of the epic’s 
place in the Sangam category is that the friend and 
companion of the author of the Silappadikdram, Kula- 
va'nikan ^Sittalai Sattanar, is a Sangam celebrity. And 
this Sattanar is ' the reputed author of the Manime- 
kalai, which is a continuation of the theme contained in 
the :!^ilappadikdram. A futile attempt has recently been 
made to prove that these epics were post-5 angam works.* 
But this militates against the fact that the author of 
the Manimekalai belonged to the same age as poets like 
Paranar” and Kapilar. We know that these two are 
among the most distinguished names mentioned in con- 
nexion with the traditional third 5angam. This, above 
all, assigns to the Silappadikdram a rank among the 5an- 
gam works. 

One conclusive evidence for the second century a.d. 

^ proface p. 9; Talk, ‘Coyyvil*, the gloss of I|ampriranar on siiira 157. 

® E.g, P, T. Srinivasa Aiyangar’s History of the Tamils, ch. XXIX ; 
K. N. Sivaraja Pillai’s 7 'he Chronology of the Early Tamils, p. 42. The latter 
says that he is mainly guided by the literary test. 

^ For Paranar’s reference to Senguttuvan see Padirr., fifth Ten ; Puram., 
St; 369 ; Ahafrt., st. 212, etc. 



as the date of the Silappadikaram is the complete 
silence of the epic with regard to the Pallavas of 
Kanci. This epic as well as the Manimehalai speaks 
of Kanci in more than one place, but does not men- 
tion anywhere the Pallavas themselves or any of their 
kings. The earliest of the Pallava charters — the re- 
cords in Prakrit — are three in number : the Mayidavolu 
plate, the Hirahadagalli plates, and the British Museum 
plates. These have been published in the volumes of 
the Epigraphia Indica, and range over a period circa a.d. 
200-350. This means that we have inscriptional evi- 
dence of the early Pallavas and the earliest of them 
could be dated from a.d. 200.^ The evidence of San- 
gam literature shows that, up to the occupation of 
the city by the Pallavas, Kanci was one of the 
northern outposts of the Cola kingdom, and was the 
capital of the Cola Viceroy. In the age of the SiJappa- 
dikdram the Cola Viceroy was Tondaman I}am-Tiraiyaij 
celebrated in the Perumpdndrruppadai by Uruttiran Kan- 
nanar. Ilam-Tiraiyan was a chief of the Tiraiyar who 
preceded the Pallavas at Kanci, and who were subordi- 
nate to the Colas in the second century a.d. Thus 
the Silappadikaram which actually refers to Kanci, does 
not mention the Pallavas even indirectly, while sub- 
sequent literature represented by the Tevdram and the 
Divyaprahandham often makes references to the Pallava 
kings. The inference is therefore conclusive that the 
Pallava kings came to reign at Kanci after the composi- 
tion of the Silappadikaram. Otherwise it is difficult 
to understand the silence of the epic and other ^angam 
works on the Pallavas or any member of that 
dynasty. “ 

^ Ep. Ind,^ VoL XV^ pp. 246-55, *Two Pallava Copper-plate Grants’, ed. 
H. Krishna Sastri. 

® R, Gopalan, The Pctllavas of Kanci., p. 9 IT., (Madras University, 19^*8). 

Introduction ii 



A stanza in the Purandnuru^ and a few in the Ahand- 
nuru'^ compared with a reference in the Silappadikdram^ 
show that the early history of the Ceras can be carried 
back to an epoch before the Mahabharata war. For we 
hear of one Udiyanceral, a Cera king who acted as the 
host to the combatants of that war. An analytical study 
of the Padirruppathi, so far as the political data contained 
in it are concerned, furnishes us with ample material to 
reconstruct the chronology of the three ancient South 
Indian dynasties, and particularly that of the early Ceras. 
Of the ten Tens (Padirruppattu), the first and the last 
have not been traced, and we must congratulate the 
talented editor, Dr. V. Swaminatha Aiyar, for presenting 
us with the available eight Tens, all very important as 
preserving in a nutshell an account of the ancestry of the 
Cera kings, to whom these poems have been dedicated. 
The following is the list of kings as they occur in the 
Padirruppattu . 

1 . Imayavaramban (also Kudavar Koman and 

Kudakkd) Nedumceralatan 

2 . Palyanaic-celkelu-kuttuvan 

3. Kalangaykkanni Narmudicceralatan 

4. Kadalpirakkottiya Senguttuvan 

5 . Adukotpattucceralatan 

6. Selvakkadungo-Valiyatan 

7. Perumceral-Irumporai 

8. Ijamceral-Irumporai 

As regards their relationship the following informa- 
tion is available from the epilogue attached to each of the 
respective eight Tens. Imayavaramban Nedumceralatan 
is the son of Udiyanceral and Veliyan-Venmal Nallini. 
Palyanaic-celkelu-kuttuvan is said to be the younger brother 

^ St. 2. 

* St. 65, 168, and 233. 

^ Canto xxiii, II. S5*60t 



of Imayavaramban. Narmudicceralatan is the son of 
Ceralatan and Velavikkoman Padumandevi. ^enguttuvan 
is said to be the son of Kudavark5man-Nedumceralatan 
and Narconai, daughter of Colan Manakkilli. Adukotpattuc- 
ceralatan is the son of Kudakko-Nedumceralatan and 
Velavikkomandevi. ^elvakkadungo is said to be the son 
of Anduvan and Poraiyanperumdevi, that is, the daughter 
of Orutandai or Oruutandi. Perumceral is the son of 
Selvakkadungo and Velavikkoman Padumandevi. Ilam- 
ceral is said to be the son of Kuttuvan (Perumceral) Irum- 
porai^ and Venmal-Anduvan Cellai, the daughter of 
Maiyurkilan, perhaps the minister of Ilamceral.^ 

The genealogy as mentioned in these padihams has 
made Professor S. S. Bharati draw the conclusion that 
Marumakkattayam was an ancient practice of the old Cera 
monarchs, and the present practice is only a relic of 
the ancient custom.^ 

As against this inference, Pandit M. Raghava Aiyan- 
gar has made out a strong case and proved how the inter- 
pretation does not admit of Marumakkattayam but only of 
Makkattayam, of son succeeding father, as in the other 
parts of the country. The 3ilappadikaram^' mentions 
Venmal as the wife of the Cera king ^enguttuvan, and the 
full name seems to be Ilango-venmal. According to a 
note to the padikam of the fifth Ten, Senguttuvan had a son 
by name Kuttuvanceral who was given to Paranar, the 
noted Sangam celebrity, as a gift, in addition to other 

Hamceral is the son and not the brother. The expression is similar to 
Ijampahcapandavas meaning, sons of the Pandavas. 

^ From the j>adiham of the ninth Ten it is seen that a certain Maiyur- 
kilan was the minister of Ilamceral. The same padiham speaks of a Maiyur- 
kilan as his grandfather. Either the two Maiyxirkilans are different, or the 
grandfather of Ilamceral was also his minister. 

® ^entamil^ Vol. XXVII, No. 4 ; see also M. Srinivasa Aiyangar, Tamil 
Studies y p. 103 ff, 

* Ceravendarfayavalakku in Tamil (1930); see also ‘Marumakkattayam and 
the Sangam Literature’, ZJJ,^ Vol. IX, No. 3, p. 255 ff, 

5 Canto XXV, L 5 . 



presents. Collating all these available materials we can 
arrive at a tentative genealogy of the early Ceras, and the 
following table is drawn up for purposes of ready and easy 

Paternal line of Senguttuvan 



Imayavaramban Nedumceralatan Palyanaic-celkelu-kuttuvan 

= Narconai (daughter of Cola king 

Senguttuvan = Ilangd-veninal 

Maternal line of ^Senguttuvan 

Manakkilli (Cola) 

Narc 5 i:iiai (daughter) 

=: Imayavaramban Nedumceralatan 

Senguttuvan Ilango-Adigal 

I ■ 


Maternal line of other Ceras 


daughter (No. i) 

= Imciyavaramban Nedumceralatan 

N armudicceral Adukot pattuc- 


daughter (No. 2) 

= Selvakka^lungo-Vaiiyatan 

(or Kutluvan-Iruniporai) 
== Venmal-Anduvan Cellai 


Proceeding to find a solution for fixing the date of 
Senguttuvan, we find that Perumceralatan (probably Imaya- 
varamban Nedumceralatan) was defeated and wounded in 
the chest at Venni, otherwise Vennil/ by Karikala.® 

^ Identified with Kdyilvenni, a village near modern Mannargudi. 
® Aham., st. 55 ; Putam.^ st. 65 (colophon) and &t. 66. 

14 Introduction 

The defeat was so crushing that the Cera king abdicated 
his throne/ The reference in the Ahandnuru is positive 
evidence for establishing the contemporaneity of Karikala 
and Imayavaramban, and Karikala could not therefore 
hav^ been the contemporary of Senguttuvan. In other 
words, the theory that Karikala and ;Senguttuvan were con- 
temporaries has little to support it. Imayavaramban must 
have died in the early half of the second century a.d. 
We know from the Padirruppattu that Imayavaramban 
and Senguttuvan reigned for fifty-eight and fifty years re- 
spectively. It would appear that Imayavaramban had two 
queens and four sons, and one of them, isenguttuvan, 
was his successor. His brother Ifango-Adigal became an 
ascetic. Of the other two, N armudicceralatan seems to 
have been in charge of the northern part of the Kongu 
kingdom, the region where was the hill Nanra," while 
Ac^ukotpattucceralatan was in charge of the Kuttanadu. 
The last two were princes ruling under the suzerainty of 
the emperor reigning from Vanjikkaruvur. 

For purposes of fixing the date of the epic a beginning 
must be made from the year a . d . 172 or 173 which is tlie 
probable year of the foundation of the Pattini temple at 
the Cera capital ; for Gajabahu, the king of Ceylon, who 
attended the consecration ceremony of the temple, came to 
the throne only in a . d . 17 i , and we have to assume that he 
must have visited India after he became king. The question 
of the Gajabahu synchronism has not found acceptance 
with the learned author of the History of the Tamils.'' 
One argument is that the alternative reading for the word 
Kayavagu is Kaval, and if the latter reading were adopted, 
the edifice based on the Gajabahu synchronism would fall 
to the ground. We must emphasize the word if. 

The editor, who has consulted no fewer than eleven 

^ The term vadakkirundanan in the texts is translated ‘committed suicide’ 
by P. T, Srinivasa Aiyangar in History of the Tai 7 iils, pp, 335-7. 

® Padirr.^ padiham to the seventh Ten, p. 375^ jff. 



manuscripts of the text and fourteen manuscript copies of 
the commentary, and whose scientific precision and punc- 
tillious care in collating the manuscripts cannot be question- 
ed, has not only adopted Kayavagu as the correct reading, 
but has also shown how there are two Gajabahus men- 
tioned in the Mahdvamsa differing in age by a thousand 
years, ^ and how Gajabahu I must be the king of Ceylon 
mentioned in the Varantarumkadai as having been present 
at the festivities held in honour of Pattinikka<^avul by 

The Mahdvamsa' says : ‘After Vankanasikatissa’s death, 
his son Gajabahukagamani reigned twenty-two years.’ 
He founded a number of vihdras and stupas. Dr. 
Wilhelm Geiger, the learned translator of the Mahdvamsa^ 
has furnished in his introduction a list of the ancient 
kings of Ceylon with the length of their respective 
reigns both in the Buddhist era and the Christian era. 
In this list Gajabahukagamaiji figures as the forty-sixth 
king, ruling from a.d. 171-193.'^ This must have been the 
Gajabahu who is celebrated in the Silappadikdram. 

It is asked’ how a devout follower of the Buddha could 
embrace a new cult like the Pattini cult. The answer is 
simple. In those days the religion followed by monarchs 
was cosmopolitan in character. There was not much of 
sectai'ian rancour. To the people then, God was one and 

^ For an inscription of Gajabahu I, 171-193 on the elephants’ stables 
or Ratanapasada, see M./l.wS.C., Vol. I, No. 2. See -also chronological table 
in B. G. Singe’s translation of the second part of the Mahdvamsa, p. 20, 
According to this, Gajabahu II ascended the throne in a.d. 1142. Cf. M.A. 5 .C., 
Vol. 11 , No. I. 

Cf. Ep, Z., Vol. Ill, No. I, ‘Ceylonese chronology’, p. 9. Also H. W. 
Codrington’s Short History of Ceylon, pp. 24, 26-34; C.A., Vol. X, p. 115. 

This is also the view of investigators on the subject like Seshagiri 
Sastri, Kanakasabhai, Krishnaswami Aiyangar, and Nilakanta Sastri. It may 
be noted that Dr. S. K. Aiyangar (Ancient India^ p. 350) has answered the 
points raised by E. Hultzsch in S.IJ., Vol. II, No. 3, p. 378, with regard to 
this question. 

® Canto XXXV. pp. 254-5. ® Pali Text Society, 1912. 

* Dtpa,, St. 22, 14 and 28. Mahdvamia^ Intro, p. xxxviii. 

® History of the Tamils, p. 380. 



might be worshipped in any shape or form. In the epoch 
when there was no nice distinction between the established 
religion of the land and the dissenting sects like the Jains 
and the Buddhists, it is no wonder that Gajabahu built a 
temple in honour of the Pattiiiikkadavul. Among the 
popular deities in Ceylon, Pattini Devi fig'ures as the 
guardian of female chastity. ‘Two wooden images of her 
and her husband in a cave at the Nikawaewa monastery 
are supposed to date from the eleventh century.’^ The 
most notable of the images of the goddess Pattini Devi is 
an image in bronze, 4 feet p-J- inches in height, discovered 
in Ceylon and presented to the British Museum in 1830.“ 
To deny totally a tradition which receives corroboration 
from an unexpected quarter, like the Pali literature of 
Ceylon, and thus to shake the corner-stone of early South 
Indian chronology, would be a breach of the historical and 
critical method. For various reasons into which we need 
not enter here, the reference in the SiLappadikdrayyi cannot 
be to Cajabahu II who figures in the history of Ceylon 
nearly ten centuries after the time of Cajabahu 1 . Thus 
the Gajabahu synchronism is explained, and the date of 
the composition of the Silappadikdram settled once for 
all. It was in the second half of the second century after 

At that time {circa a.d. 172) ^enguttuvan was fifty 
years of age." Therefore, when he started for the north 
he was forty-seven, as he had spent three years there. In 
the light of the statement in the Padirruppatiu that he 
ruled for fifty years, it may be taken roughly that he ascend- 
ed the throne when he was twenty years of age and must 
have died about a.d. 192. Senguttuvan must, therefore, 
have led the northern expedition about a.d. 168, though 
these estimates cannot be accepted rigidly. 

^ V. A. Smith, A History of Fine Art in India and Ceylon^ igii, p. 

Also H. Parker, Ancient Ceylon^ Fig. 272. 

® See frontispiece. 

® Canto xxviii, IL 129-30- 

Introduction 17 

That ^enguttuvan took nearly three years for his North 
Indian expedition is evident from the following. While he 
was still in the north a certain Brahman, Madalan by name, 
sought the audience of His Majesty, and after his conversa- 
tion with him, the royal astrologer informed him that it was 
thirty-two months since the latter left his capital.^ Again 
two years before ^enguttuvan left for the north, Mani- 
mekalai was in Puhar, and when she returned to Vahji 
after a five years’ tour, it is said that it was three years 
since : 5 enguttuvan had left for the north. Without going 
into further details, we may conclude that Imayavaramban 
ruled from circa a.d. So- 140 and Senguttuvan from circa 
A.D. 140-192. 



The fifth Ten of the Padirruppattu is sung in praise of 
Ceran Senguttuvan by the poet Paranar. Senguttuvan 
became the greatest of the Cera monarchs. From the 
padikam can be gathered some knowledge as to his achieve- 
ments. These can be categorically mentioned here. 

(1) The success over the northern kings in his 

campaign to the Himalayas to get a stone 
thereof to carve out an image of the Patti- 

(2) The lifting of cattle from the Idumbil forest 

tracts. It is said that on his return from 
the northern expedition the king spent 
some time on the outskirts of this forest.^ 

(3) The defeat of Nannan Venman or simply 

Nannan, the chieftain of the Velir, and the 
occupation of his capital Viyalur.® 

^ Canto xxvii^ I. 149. ® Canto xxviii, 1 . iiS. 

® Canto xxvii, 1 . 115; Aham., st. 97, ‘MamCiIanar’. 




(4) The overthrow of a confederacy of nine Colas 

at Nerivayii' which was neax* the southern 
gateway of the ancient Uraiyur.“ 

(5) The overthrow of seven kings and the wear- 

ing of their respective seven garlands in 
his crown in commemoration of his heroic 

(6) His success over the Kongar' who can be 

identified with the Gangas, also called 
Kongudesaraj^kaj. During this encounter 
Koduhur was completely devastated as the 
Padirruppattu has it."' There is a Kodu- 
hurnadu today in the division of Punnadu of 
the Mysore state. 

(7) His successful naval engagements and specially 

the battle of Mohur’^ where the venibiP or 
margosa tree of Palaiyan was destroyed. 
It may be noted in passing that his naval 
engagements were so striking and decisive 
that he earned the title of Kadalpirakkottiya 
Velkelukuttuvan. ■’ This can appropriately 
be compared with the statement^" made 
at different places in the Silappadiharam . 
Most of these are corroborated by the Silappadikdraui 
which gives a detailed account of his expedition to the 

Cantos xxviii, 11 , 116-7: xxvii, 11 . 118-23. 

® /Inf. Ind.^ P* commentary tjf .'Vrumpadavuraiyasiriyar an 

canto xxviii, I. 117. 

® Canto xxviii, 1 , i6c) ; Pad{p\^ st. 45. In these places he is calleti 
P 31 umu<^imarpa. 

**00010 xx\', 11. 152-5. ® Padikam to flu* fifth Tern. 

® See M. Raghava Aiyangar, Ceran Sengtifpivarj^ 2S-g ; also Ind. 
Aiit.j i 8S9» p. 369. 

Canto xxvii., II. 124-6. Padirr.^ si. 44, 49. 

® The reference to the wearing of the garland of margosa goes lo pro\e 
that Mohur Palaiyan was an ally of the Plindyan king and more prol>ably 
a general of his. {Madttraikhdnji, 11 , 507-8. Aham^^ st. 346.) 

® Padirt., si- 41, 45, 46. 

e.g. Qpjijirfi ^mruf canto xvii, *UIvarivaIttu\ 3. 
See canto xxviii, 1. 135 ; canto xxix, * 0 salvari% st. i. 



north to secure a block of stone to make the image of the 
Goddess of Chastity, and if we are to believe the account 
in the epic, this was the last of his achievements ; for 
Madalan has drawn attention^ to all the six achievements 
mentioned above. 

The poet Paranar refers to five of these seven achieve- 
ments. The two, which are not mentioned by him, are his 
northern expedition to get a stone for the Pattini, and his 
success at the battle of Nerivayil. If we place his 
achievements in chronological order these, two were his 
last, and the northern expedition was the last of all. It 
would be appropriate to say that when Paranar sang of 
this Cera, he had not undertaken these things. These 
deeds were done after Paranar sang the Padirruppattu. 
From the absence of any mention by Paranar of these last 
two of his achievements, an endeavour has been made to 
distinguish Velkelukuttuvan from ^Senguttuvan.® And in 
this the correspondence of the five incidents, which marked 
the earlier activities of the king, has been ignored, with 
what valid reasons we cannot see. In the writer’s opinion, 
Velkelukuttuvan is another name for ^enguttuvan. 



Bold and powerful, Senguttuvan was able to bring 
under his control not only his own neighbours, the 
Pandya and the Cola, but also to carry his conquest so 
far north as to earn the title of Imayavaramban (literally 
‘one, the territorial limits of whose empire extended to 
the Himalayas’). We know his father had carried his 
arms up to the distant Himalayas and hence came to be 
distinguished as Imayavaramban Nedumceralatan . Al- 
ready mention has been made of the achievements which 

^ Canto xxviii, II. 114-22. 

® The Chronology of the Early Tamils^ pp. 124-5. 

20 Introduction 

Senguttuvan had to his credit, and which entitle him to be 
ranked with die great emperors of Ancient India. We 
shall here call attention to a few outstanding traits of his 

The rather horrid detail of his having made the women- 
folk of Palaiyan drag the marg'osa tree with a rope made 
of their twisted hair' may be dismissed as a poetic exag- 
geration, though there may be truth in the statement that 
he made the northern king's carry the stone for the Pattini 
on their heads. These details and especially the fact of 
his making prisoners of the vanquished and the retreating 
foes, which evoked scathing comments from the Panch'a 
and the Cola sovereigns of his time, go to proi'c that 
Senguttuvan was too severe an avenger of wrongs. The 
above incidents smack of the asura form of warfare so 
eloquently described in the Kaufallya Arlliasasira.' 

Notwithstanding these incidents we hnd the king to be 
God-fearing and possessing a religious bent of mind. Pie 
was superstitious and had faith in astrology and astronomy. 
This is borne out by the fact that he set out on his north- 
ern expedition at an auspicious hour. I hat he was I'cli- 
gious is seen from his prayers in the temples of Siva and 
Visnu on the eve of his historic march to the north." 

Besides, he was a patron of arts and letters. Pic 
spent his time in amusements which consisted of dancing 
and singing. It is said that a number of these dancers 
went along with him to the north. That this was an 
ancient war-practice is seen from the Kauiayana , wherre it 
is said that actors and dancing-masters followed the arnn 
of Satruerlina. ' He rewarded learned men wnth ])re.scnts, 
some of w'hich were invaluable. I’he gifts received by 
Paranar and Madalan may be quoted us instances in point. 
.‘Senguttuvan had a fine artistic mind as is seen from the 

^ PacUkani to the fifth Ten. 

® For details see Ar, Bk. xii, also V, R. R. Dikshltar, The 

Maury an Polity^ 1932, p- 129. 

® Canto xxvi, 11 . 54-66. ^ Bk. vii, cli. 64, st. 3. 



fact that he went all the way to the Himalayas in 
order to fetch a good stone to carve out an image of 
Kannakid That he was a follower of the established reli- 
gion of the land and that he was a Ksatriya by caste are 
evident from the fact that he engag'ed himself in the per- 
formance of Vedic sacrifices, after the temple was con- 
structed and consecrated to Kannaki. From this time until 
his death it appears that he took to a life of ease and peace, 
penance and prayer, his mind being centred on the study 
and practice of dharma." 

He was a great soldier and a bold warrior. The 
prowess of his arms was felt throughout the Tamil land, 
the Cdia and Pandya being his tributary allies. He 
carried his sword as far as the Ganges, and brought the 
whole of India under his suzerainty. According to the 
Harihara Caturanga, a manuscript on War written by the 
minister of Prataparudra, the Kabanda engages in a 
dance, usually known as the devil dance, whenever a 
thousand suras fall dead on the field of battle, or when a 
sura kills one thousand able heroes in a battle. Viewed 
in this light, and from the fact that the Kabanda danced 
his dance in glee, blessing Sengnittuvan for the sumptuous 
food for him and his companions, it transpires that ;$en- 
guttuvan was a sura and a vlra. With unlimited power 
at his disposal and being a vigorous ruler, ^enguttuvan 
was able to keep peace in his vast and diversified empire 
for a full half-century. This would in itself be ample 
proof of his greatness. No doubt he is the most memor- 
able figure in the history of ancient Tamil India. 



Another king much celebrated by llango-Adigal next 
only to Senguttuvan, is the Cola king Karikala. If we 

Canto XXV, IL 1 15-31. 

2 Canto XXX, 11 . 170 IT, 



are to believe the account in the PoninararruppadaP 
Karikala was a posthumous child and son of Uruvap- 
pahrer-Ilanjetcenni. He began to reign when he was 
a mere child. It is said that in the battle of Venni, Ima- 
yavaramban was wounded and the victory was won by 
the boy Karikala.^ His was a benevolent form of admini- 
stration.''’ His interest in irrigation and consequently in 
agriculture is seen from his construction of embankments 
for the Kaveri as testified to by the Leyden grant.' For 
this work, it is said that thousan^ls of Ceylonese labourers 
were employed. 

The text of the Silappadilcdrani contains three refer- 
ences to Karikala.’’ The first reference is to his military 
prowess. Here he is called Tirumavalavan, which term, 
it is worthy of note, occurs in the Paitiuappdlai (i. egp) 
of Kadiyalur Uruttirankannanar who was the recipient 
of 1,600,000 gold pieces at the hands of Karikala 
( 11 . 19-21). This internal evidence c.stabli.shes beyond 
doubt the contemporaneity of the poet an<l the king, 
a chief plank in determining the date of Karikala. The 
second reference gives him the full name of Karikalvala- 
van by which term the Puravdyfiru 66 mentions him. 
In the third reference in the text referre<l to above, we 
have the story of Karikala’s daughter who, finding her 
husband, the ruler of Vanji, being' washed away by the 
floods, plunged courageously into the waters and rescued 
him by the power of her chastity. It is unfortunate that 
we have no more details about this incident, not even the 
names of that daughter and her hu.sband. 

An instance of his military prowess can be said to be 
the carving of the bow emblem on the Himalayas and the 
consequent overthrowing of the Arya monarchs of the 

^ 11. 130-48. ^ Aham.^ st. 24G ; cf. Mam., canto IL 107-8, 

® PattinappdJai, 11 . 283 - 4 . 

* J. Burgess and Natesa Sastri, T’ciw?. and Sans, Ins,, No. 29^ pp. 204-24, 
8ee also Atic. Tnd., p. 349. 

* Cantos V, 11 . 90-104; vl, 11 , 159-60; xxi, 1 . ix IT. 



north. This march was prompted by the fact of the 
intrusion of the northern kings into South India. As if 
to corroborate this statement the Silappadikdram elsewhere 
evidences the fact that Senguttuvan was an ally of Avanti 
(Ujjain in Malva), and of the kings of Vajra and Maga- 
dha. We have records, literary and epigraphical, which 
testify to such invasions during the epoch of the Nandas 
and the Mauryas. There was a reaction. Powerful 
southern kings like Karikala, Imayavaramban Nedum- 
ceralatan and ^enguttuvan led expeditions to the north 
and their unqualified victories stemmed the tide of political 
invasions from the north for the time being ; for we know 
Samudragupta carried his victorious arms to the very 
south. The extant commentaries on the epic regard 
Karikala as the contemporary of Senguttuvan, the 
hero of the Vahjikkandam of the epic. The commenta- 
tors say that the Cola king under reference in the Puhar- 
kandam and even later was Karikalacc5lan.' But this 
militates against the indications furnished by the text of 
the 3ilappadikdmm. That a certain king by name Kari- 
kala lived, and that he was an ancient monarch is testified 
to us by the anthologies of the Purandnuru and the Ahand- 
nuru, besides other 5angam works. Here are celebrated 
the achievements of the Cola Karikala, and if we compare 
these achievements with those referred to in the Silappadi- 
kdram, it is just possible that the Cola under reference is 
no other than Karikala. 

In describing the two achievements of Karikala — the 
march to the Himalayas, and the festival of bathing in the 
first freshes® of the Kaveri, the poet refers to them as past 
incidents by the significant expression anndl, making us 
infer that Karikala lived a little before the epic was com- 
posed, and not very far removed from the date of its 
composition. The next question arises as to who this 

^ Afumpadavurai^ canto iii, Lit; also gloss of Adiyarkkunallar on cantos 
i, 11 , 65-8, V, 1 . 21:?, and vi, 1 , 15. ® Canto vi, 11 . 1 59-60, 



Karikala was, and what was his relationship to Ceran 
fsenguttuvan. In the padikain, the prologue to the 
poem, ^enguttuvan’s mother is said to be a daughter of 
the Cola king, and her name was Narconai. According 
to the Padirruppattu (the fourth Ten) there was one 
C5la Manakkilli. His daughter must be the mother of 
^enguttuvan and her name was Narconai. Manakkilli in 
his turn must have been the son of Karikrda. In the 
light of this relationshi]), Karikala must have been the 
maternal great-grandfather of .‘^engutUivan and not his 
grandfather as some scholars would have it. If the latter 
relationship can be accepted, Manakkilli would stand by 
himself, and it would be clifficult to find for him a proper 
place in the genealogical list. Hence it stands to reason 
that Karikala must have lived a generation before the age 
of .'3enguttuvan, and could not therefore have been his 
contemporary . ^ 

Incidentally we may remark that the Karikala of the 
Silappadikdram or of the v^angam works has nothing to do 
with the Karikala represented to be a contemporary of 
Trilocana Pallava and Calukya \’^ijayaditya of the early 
fifth century a.d.“ It is still a moot question who this 
Trilocana was and when he lived." Even if his date and 
identity were established, and there is no reliable testimony 
to establish it, there is nothing to prevent another Karikala 
having flouri-shed in Puhrir a few centuries later. If the 
reference in the Ahaitdnurii' has any significance at all, 
it shows, as has already been .said, the contemporaneity of 
Imayavaramban NedumceralaUin an<l Karikala. Though 

^ Prof, K. A. Nilakanta Sastri in his learned study of Karikrda accepts 
that the figure of Karikala is, to start with, thoroughly realistic and historical, 
and indicates his view that .‘^engutt uvan canio at least half a century after 
Karikrda, if not earlier. (Studies in Cohi History attd AdministratioJi^ pp, ^7, 
49 - 50 *) 

® Contra P. T. Srinivasa Iyengar, IliHory of the Tamils, pp, 382-7 ; 
Dr. N. V. Ramanayya, Trildcafia Pallava. 

® For Krishna Sastri ’s opinion, see Ep. Ind.., Vol. X, p. 58, n. 2. 

* 55 * 



we cannot definitely mark out the chronological limits of 
Karikala’s career, it is reasonable to assume that he lived 
at the commencement of the second century a.d. It 
seems to be certain that at the accession of ^enguttuvan 
to the Cera throne (circa a.d. 140) Karikala was dead, and 
ManakkiUi was reigning. For, according to the account 
preserved in the ^'Silappadikdram, : 5 enguttuvan had to 
interfere in the disputed election to the throne of the 
Colas, ^ and it needs no stretch of the imagination to deduce 
that this was the consequence of the death of Manakkilli’s 
son. The conclusion is irresistible that the duration of 
the reigns of Karikala and ManakkiUi was comparatively 
short. According to the evidence cited by the Uraiperu- 
kaiturai it was Perunikilli or Perunarkilli that succeeded 
ManakkiUi, or probably his son Nedumkilli, and w'as reign- 
ing at Uraiyur at the time of the consecration of the 
Pattini temple. 

From this foregoing evidence the following genea- 
logical list of the early Colas of the first and second 

centuries a.d. can be 












(died on the b«attle-field with 






1 i 

PerumkilH alias 

— Nedumceralatan 


NalainkilH KilHvalavan 





The Silappadikdram also gives an insight into the 
political condition of North India in the first three cen- 
turies of the Christian era. This was the dark period of 

Canto xxvii, IL 118-23. 



Indian History so far as North India was concerned. 
But the recent researches of Dr. K. P. Jayaswal in his 
History of India, A.D. have shed much light 

and lifted up the veil of gloom. It was only under the 
Guptas that North India regained its old position of 
prestige and pre-eminence. During that period, which ex- 
tended for more than two centuries, there was no tower- 
ing personality of prowess and valour to meet a strong foe 
like Senguttuvan. The whole region was divided into a 
number of petty principalities over each of which was a 
chieftain. It is said that there were as many as one 
thousand chieftains whom Senguttuvan had to encounter 
single-handed.' Though this number is an exaggeration, 
it demonstrates that there were a good number of 
small and independent states. Apparently, these different 
chiefs were enjoying autonomy. I'he principal kingdoms 
mentioned in the epic were Avanti, Vajra, Magadha and 
Malva.^ We know by their gifts of choice presents that 
the first three acknowledged the overlordship of Karikala. 
The king of Malva was an ally of isenguttuvan. Some 
of them became jealous of the arms of the neighbouring 
monarchs. Hearing that a .south Indian king like the 
powerful fsenguttuvan was advancing towards their king- 
doms. some of the prominent minor rulers, Uttiran, Vicit- 
tiran, Uruttiran, Bairavan, Cittiran, Singan, Tanuttiran, 
and ^ivetan, joined together under the common leader- 
ship of Kanaka and Vijaya, and went to meet Jaenguttu- 
van encamped far from the north of the Ganges.*' The 
scene of action mentioned is Kuyilaluvam. 

The political situation in the north was quite favour- 
able to the south Indian conqueror. The Andhras were 
in the position of allies. Kaniska, the other powerful 
king, was already dead. The smaller chieftains were not 
strong enough to offer a bold front to the strong arms of 

1 Canto XXV, 11. i6o-6. * C.-into v, 11. gg ff. 

3 Canto xxvi, 11. j8o-6, 



a conquering monarch like 5enguttuvan. The result was 
a crushing defeat for the northerners. Excepting those 
who had been slain and who had fled from the field of 
battle in fear and in different disguises , other important 
leaders were captured as prisoners of war, taken to the 
distant south as a mark of humiliation, and thrown into 
prison after being shown to Senguttuvan’s brother- 
monarchs, the Pandya and the Cola. 

It would not be out of place to refer here to the 
Yavana-nadu and the Malva region which find mention 
in the Silappadikaram . According to the padikam of the 
second Ten of the Padirruppattu, Imayavaramban put the 
Yavanas to disgrace by pouring ghee over their heads. 
The Yavanas are mentioned frequently in Tamil litera- 
ture including the Silappadikaram.^ These were origin- 
ally foreign traders with whom the Tamils had commer- 
cial transactions. But by the time of Senguttuvan they 
had settled in India and, according to the Silappadikdram , 
had their own flourishing and independent nadu, pro- 
bably the Indus region.^ They seem to have been very 
wealthy for diamonds formed part of the tribute paid 
by them. It appears that they acknowledged the over- 
lordship of 5§enguttuvan by paying tribute to him. 

Mention is again made of the aid given by Nurruvar- 
Kannar. The late Mr. Kanakasabhai identified them with 
the Satakarni.® According to the version in the epic these 
were apparently a class of people having their residence 
in the Ganges tracts. It is said that they helped Sen- 
guttuvan with boats to cross the Ganges. The context 
does not warrant it to be the action of a particular indivi- 
dual but a group of persons. If the reference is to a certain 

^ Canto xxix, ‘Ci^alvari’, st. 3 ; and canto xxviii, 1 . 141. 

® See in this connexion V. A. Smith, The Early History of India, 4th ed., 
revised by S. M. Edwardes, 1924, pp. 462-3. 

^ The Tamils 1800 Years Aj^o, p. 7. 

Canto xxvi, L 176. 



Satakarni' it must be Siva Sri Fulumayi (a.d. 163-170}. 
In fact the neutrality or rather the alliance of the Andliras 
was a preliminary condition for the success of the 
northern expedition of the Cera monarch. That the 
Andhras conquered Magadha and established an All- India 
empire cannot be g'ainsaid. Lig'ht comes from an unex- 
pected quarter which helps us to identify Balakumara and 
Vijaya. In this connexion Ptolemy’s reference to Baleo- 
kourous is of capital importance. Baleokourous is per- 
haps a corrupt form of Balakumara. Idim Ptolemy re- 
fers to as a contemporary ruling prince about a.d. 160. 
From the fact that Balakumara belonged to a collateral 
line of the Andhras it can be inferred that he wfis an 
ally of Senguttuvan. A certain Satakarni was the im- 
perial ruler at this time. He was perhaps \'ajhasri 
Satakarni or Pulumayi. According to the account of the 
Matsya Purdna, Yajhasri was succeedecl by \"ijaya, a 
usurper. If we are to believe the epic account, this 
Vijaya was the son of Balakumara. What is remarkable 
is the coincidence of dates, which fi.xes Senguttuvan in 
the latter half of the second century a.d." 

Before we close this section attention may be drawn to 
the futile attempt made by some scholars to identify 
Kanaka and Vijaya with Kaniska and VijayakTrti of 
Khotan. According to Tibetan sources, shortly after a.d. 
120, an expedition against India was undertaken by 
Kanika in connexion with VijayakTrti king of Khotan 
and the king of Guzan. This Kanika is identified with 
Kaniska; but as Prof. F. W. Thomas points ouF this 
is in conflict with Taranatha’s statement. According to the 
Professor. Kaniska lived in the Mauryan epoch. If on 

1 According to Pandit M. Raghnva Aiynngar the king of Mulvn is untior 
reference especially from the fact that he was present at the installation of 
the Pattinidevi. (For a temple of Pattini in E. Mfilva, see T. G, Arnva- 
mtidhan, The Kdveri, the Maukharis and the San^(][ani A(fi\ pp. 

« See K. G. Sesha Iyer, LH.Q., Vol. L 

3 /nd. Ant,, VoL XXXU, 1903, p. 349. 



the other hand, Kaniska is identified with king Kanika, 
then Kanika ‘must have started on his career from the 
Khotan country’. The evidence of the Kalpandman- 
ditlkd and of the Mahdrdjakanikalekha points in the same 
direction. It is also to be noted that at the time of 
the expedition of Vijayakirti to India, the ruling prince 
in Khotan was Vfijayasimha. Last but not least is the 
tradition that Kaniska left India after his conquest and 
went back to Khotan. Excepting the accidental identity 
of the names Kanaka and Vijaya, other events connected 
with them have no bearing on the historical data furnished 
by the Silappadikdram.^ Vasiska had succeeded^ Kaniska 
in A. D. 152. If Chinese historical sources which mention 
the histoiy of western countries down to a.d. 125 are to 
be believed, we have to take it that Kaniska rose to 
power after a.d. 125 ; for he is not mentioned in the 
Chinese books. It is impossible by any stretch of imagina- 
tion for a Khotan prince to invade, conquer India up to 
the Ganges — for according to the Silappadikdram the 
battle was fought on the banks of the Ganges — and to 
found an empire. It could not stop with this. Having 
firmly established himself, he heard of the distant 
Tamil kings and spoke slightingly of their prowess. All 
this in the course of less than twenty-five years is an 
impossibility. Hence this identification cannot stand a 
critical examination. 



From the foregoing account we have a rough estimate 
of the political condition of the Tamil land at the begin- 
ning of the Christian era. The three powerful kings were 
the Cera, the Cola, and the Pandya. The Pallavas of 

^ C.I.L^ Vul. II, Pt. I, 1929, ‘Kharoshfhl Inscriptions’, by Sten Konow, 
Intro., p. Ixxvff. 

^ According to inscriptional evidence ; ibid. p. Ixxviii. 

30 Introduction 

Kanci were yet to come. Wars among these states were 
frequent. Often two kingdoms joined together against 
the third. 


In the section on geographical data an attempt has 
been made to locate the nadus of the ancient Cera king- 
dom. These were broadly classified into the jualainddii 
and the kadalmalamadii. The jnalainddu (literally, moun- 
tainous country) was the Kongunadu, a part of which 
comprised the territory now occupie<.l b} the Salem and 
Coimbatore districts. Here was the himous capital city 
Vanjikkaruvur. Here the Kollis and the Ananialai range 
are the chief hills, and it may be remarked in passing 
that the Anamalais are said to contain loft\' peaks. d'he 
districts of Malayala (the territory co\'ering moilern Mala- 
bar) were known as kadabiialaitiadu (region of seas and 
mountains). Here the chief ilivisions were Kuttanadu,' 
Kudanadu and the Pulinadu. The term kutta means 
lowlands and apparently the reference is to the back- 
waters of the Malabar region. Probabh' it extended from 
Cranganore to modern Trivandrum. The Kudanadu 
covered the territory from opposite the Palghat gap to 
South Kanara and Coorg. The region of the Poraiyan, 
(literally, small hilly tracts), extended from Palghat to the 
Kongunadu proper. 

The Cera king was known generally as Kiulavar- 
koman or the lord of the western region. His other 
titles were Kuttuvan, Kongan, Puliyan, Poraiyan, etc. 
This extensive Cera kingdom, infestetl here and there by 
lofty hills, could not have been ruled <lirectly by the cen- 
tral authority. If we analyse the available data, the 
inference forces itself on us that these different iiddus were 
the various divisions of the empire, each tlivision under the 
charge of a g-overnor or viceroy who was appointed by and 

Pildiri.y glossary, p. i68. 



who owed allegiance to the Cera king reigning at Vahjik- 
karuvur. From the nature of the materials before us, it is 
not possible to say when these nadus were conquered and 
by whom. But at the time when the Silappadikdram was 
composed, or even long before it, these nadus formed 
part and parcel of the Cera kingdom. By extending their 
mighty empire, the Ceras occasionally earned the titles of 
Puhar-^elva and Imayavaramba. The Cera state had 
international relations, or more appropriately inter-state 
relations, not only with its immediate neighbours, but also 
with distant rulers. The enemy kings were conquered, and 
often their states were annexed. Sometimes the defeated 
monarchs were reinstated under certain conditions. At the 
time of which we are speaking, the Cera kingdom was the 
most powerful and the most wealthy of the Tamil king- 


At the commencement of the story in the Silappadi- 
karani, the ruler of the Cola kingdom was Kunavar- 
koman, and the kingdom had two capitals Uraiyur and 
Puhar. The ruler of Uraiyur was Manakkilli or more 
probably his son Nedumkilli. According to the Mani- 
mehalai, Mavankilli or KiUivajavan was the ruler of 

Puhar. His younger brother was Ilamkilli (also Nalam- 
ki}Ii). There was a civil war between the Uraiyur and 
Puhar Killis. The most important battle was fought 

at Kariyaru where Nedumkilli was slain by Ilamkilli. 

Nedumkilli, it may be remembered, was the uncle of 

Senguttuvan, and he had a son Perumkilli or Perunarkilli. 
The succession was disputed, and Senguttuvan had to 
interfere. In this connexion he had to overthrow a 
confederacy of nine Colas, and ultimately he succeeded 
in enthroning his uncle’s son Perumkilli. From this it is 
reasonable to assume that, besides the two capitals, there 
were other small semi-independent states within the Cola 



kingdom where minor chieftains reigned, but all of whom 
acknowledged the overlordship of the Cola at the capital. 
It is worthy of note that the Cdlamandalani extended as 
far as Kahci. which belonged to Karikala as provided 
by independent testimony.^ 

The importance of Puhar was not long-lived. Anticipa- 
ting the forthcoming devastation of the city, the Buta at 
the Butacatukkam, which was brought from Indra’s 
abode by Mucukunda, was removed to \'ahji by the Cera 
king." The destruction of Puhar by the erosion of the 
sea was effected during the period between the time when 
Manimekalai left Puhar on a tour to Manipallavam and 
other places, and her return after nearly fi\'e years. This 
was probably in the year a . d . 170. Notwithstanding the 
ruin of the city, Puhar continued to be the capital, though 
diminished in importance. Once more Uraiyur rose to 
prominence as the chief seat of the Cola monarchs. At 
the time of the establishment of the Kannaki temple at 
Vanji, the Cola ruler was Perunarkilli (also Perumki}li)'* 
who also had a temple built for her at Uraiyur, his capital. 


Proceeding to speak about the Pandyun kingdom, 
Madura was flourishing as the capital of Ariyappadai- 
tanda Neduhjeliyan. ‘ It was a busy c'cntre of trade and 
commerce and attracted even people like Kdvalan and 
Kannaki. But the city was not to flourish long. Neduh- 
jel.iyan ordered the unjust execution of the innocent 
Kovalan and this cost the king’s life and the ilcstriu'tion 
of the city. The ancient Pandyan kingdom had another 
capital at Korkai. P'rom the U raipernkaUurai it is seen 
that at Korkai, was reigning VerriverceHyan (also Ilam- 
jeliyan) at the time when isengutUivan was in the north. 

^ Mani.y canto xxviii, 11 . 168-72. ^ Canto xxvii'^ 11 . 147-8. 

® Uraipemkatiuraiy 1 . 4 . 

■* Kaffurai at the end of the *MatIuraikk«andam* ; also Ariyappadaitanda 



Ilamjeliyan was the younger brother of Ariyappadaitanda 
Neduhjeliyan or simply Nedunjeliyan. The latter was a 
man of letters/ and was a patron of literature. During 
his reign Korkai was the seat of the Yuvaraja who was 
the king’s own brother. The latter was crowned king 
while ^enguttuvan was absent in the north. ^ Finding 
his country suffering from a disastrous famine, he ordered 
the sacrifice of a thousand goldsmiths as an offering in 
honour of the Goddess of Chastity installed in his capital. 
He was also known as Verriverceliyan.® It is believed 
that after he became king he took the title of Nanmaran. 
Nanmaran had a son Nedunjeliyan of Talaiyalanganam 
fame and a grandson of Ukkirapperuvaludi.'* This Peru- 
valudi with the attribute Kanappertanda was a friend and 
contemporary of Perunarkilli (Rajasuyamvetta) and the 
Cera Marivenko.® 


In the above outline of the political condition of South 
India mention has been made of the three chief Tamil king- 
doms. But a study of the Sangam works, especially the 
Purandnuru and the Ahandnuru, points to a number of 
petty kingdoms ruled by chieftains of minor importance 
besides these three major kingdoms. There is not enough 
material to deal in detail with these chiefs. But a refer- 
ence has to be made to the Kongilamkosar, or simply 
the Kosar, whose country went by the name of Tulu- 
nadu f and these Kosar can be identified with the 
Satyaputras of the Asokan inscriptions.’^ According to 

^ See his verse in Ptivanj., st. 183. 

® Canto xxvii, II. 114-38. ® ibid., 11 . 127-34. 

Pur am. j st. 76 ff. ; Ahani., st. 36. Cf. the Sinnamanur coppcr-plate. 

^ Ptiiaui.-, st. 367 where the poetess Avvaiyar celebrates these three kings. 

® Aham.^ st. 15. 

See paper by V. R- R. Dikshitar on ‘The Ko^ar’ read to the All-India 
Oriental Conference, Patna, 1930, also his article in Indian Culture, Vol. I, 
Pt. I., Calcutta, 1934; also in Pt. Ill, the contribution entitled 'Who were the 


34 Introduction 

the testimony of literature, there was one Kongunadu 
which seems to have been comprised of the Cera king- 
dom, the Tulunadu, and the country of Gangar and 

Our investigation would be incomplete if we did not 
mention other countries and peoples, mostly of South 
India, which were antagonistic to ^enguttuvan. These 
are the Kalingar, the Karunatar, the Bangalar, the 
Gangar, and the Kattiyar/ 

The Kalingar were the people of Kalinga, whose 
history can be traced back by independent testimony to the 
later Vedic and epic periods. It continued to be a power- 
ful kingdom during the time of the Nandas and the 
Mauryas. We get a glimpse of the ancient history (3f 
Kalinga in the Silappadikaram. There were two famous 
cities, 5ingapura“ and Kapilapura, ruled over respectively 
by Vasu and Kuraara, of cognate relationship. Civil 
wars between them were comm on. ° 

The Karunatar, on the other hand, were the Kannada 
people who are described as being hard-hearted and fierce. 
Karunadu means elevated country. Possibly the refer- 
ence is to the people who occupied the plateau which was 
above sea-level. It may possibly refer to the region now 
occupied by the Mysore country.' The iSangam literature 
knows again of a people called Vadukar who are also 
partly identified with the Kanarese people and partly with 
the Telugus. The term simply means ‘people of the 
north’ and hence must be the north of Tamilagam. Who 
the Bangalar were it is difficult to say ; but it may be 
that they were the people of Bengal. We know from the 

^ Canto xxv% 11 . 156-7. 

® R. D. Bannerji relates a legend that led to the foundation of 
pura which became the capital t)f northern Kalinga. He is' inclined to 
identify this city with the village of Singur in the Hotvghly district of S\V. 
Bengal. History of Orissa, Vol. I, p. 49. 

® Canto xxiii, 1 . 138 ff. See also Marji., canto xxvi, L 15 IT. 

* For the derivation of Karunatar see Mysore Gazetteer, \^oL I, pp. 254-7- 



Buddhist legends that there was intercourse by sea be- 
tween Bengal and Ceylon at least from the fifth century B.c. 
when Vijaya is said to have landed here. It is reasonable 
to suppose that the route lay through the Coromandel 
coast. No doubt its effects were felt by the Tamil coun- 
tries as well. The Gangar can be said to be the people 
of Gangavadi whose capital was Talakad. The Kattiyar 
are often mentioned in the :Sangam works, ^ and they seem 
to have occupied the territory lying to the south of the 
Vadukarbumi. Apparently these were small chieftains 
who enjoyed independent rule. During the days of the 
Vijayanagar empire their descendants were ruling over 
the territory now occupied by the Salem district.® 


The mention of Gajabahu, the king of Ceylon, as 
having been present at the installation ceremony of the 
Goddess of Chastity is significant from more than one 
standpoint. It shows the frequent intercourse between 
Ceylon and South India. According to the Mahdvamia 
the invasions by Tamil kings into the kingdom of Ceylon 
were pretty frequent, and were resented by the Ceylonese. 
We hear of an old woman complaining to Gajabahu that 
among the 12,000 persons taken away by Karikala for 
making an embankment on the Kaveri, was her only son. 
Notwithstanding this, the Ceylon king’s relations with 
Senguttuvan were cordial. As became an ally, he was 
present at the celebration of his victorious march to North 
India. ‘South India and Ancient Ceylon’ is a fascinat- 
ing subject of study for a student of South Indian History, 
and it is hoped that a fuller treatment of the subject will 
be undertaken in the future.® 

^ Aham>, st. 44 and 226, and Kuruntogai, st. ii. 

* See M. Raghava Aiyangar, Caran Senguttuvan, pp. 112-3. 

3 An attempt has already been made by Mr. C. Rasanayagam in this 
direction in his book Ancient Jaffna^ 1926- 

2,6 Introduction 



Long and laborious research in ancient Indian polity 
has tended to remove the misconception generally preva- 
lent that all ancient Indian monarchies were autocracies. 
The consensus of opinion among scholars of the modern 
day is that the ancient Indian monarchs were not auto- 
cratic, but were subject to the laws of the land both 
customary and statutory. There were democratic insti- 
tutions in the country which kept the king under control 
and prevented him from acting unduly on his own initia- 
tive. Such institutions were common both in North 
India and .South India. ^ 

But confining ourselves to South Indian polity we may 
make the statement that the king was benevolent and 
cared for the promotion of the welfare of his subject.s. 
We know how the Cola king Karikala converted jungles 
into regions of fertility and wealth and how he under- 
took large irrigation schemes. There are stories told of 
his even-handed justice." So was known the Pandyan 
Nedunjeliyan who gave up his life when he heard that he 
had meted out unjustifiable punishment to the innocent 
Kov'-alan. These instances are enough to prove that the 
king was no autocrat. 


In the conduct of his administration the king was assist- 
ed by the assembly of five (ainipcrum-kulu) which consist- 
ed of the minister, the piirohita, the commander-in-chicf, 
an ambassador and a spy, and by a group of eight officials 
(enperayam), the superintendent of the accounts, the head 
of the executive, the officer of the treasury, the chamber- 
lain, the representatives of the citizens, the commander, 

^ For iin elaborate study of these institutions see V. R. R. Dikshitar, 
Hindu Administer ative InstituHons^ 2929. 

® Fajamoli^ st. 6; Mani.^ canto iv, 11 . 107-8. 



the chief of the elephant-warriors and of the horse- 

To illustrate ; King Senguttuvan was served by Villa- 
vankodai, the commander of the land forces, and Alumbil- 
vel, the superintendent of income and expenditure. 
Sahjaya and Nila were the chief messengers. Sanjaya was 
the head of the Kanjuka-makkal. The spies are described 
as wandering in different disguises in the capitals of the 
other kingdoms while the spies of other kings were going 
about in Vahji. The king consulted his officials before 
he undertook any business. That the queen attended 
such a council and had her say in the questions debated 
upon can be presumed from the fact that ^enguttvan’s 
queen Ilangovenma} was present in the Council Cham- 
ber and took part in the discussion when the question of 
erecting the temple to Pattmi Devi was decided.^ The 
monotony of state business was often enlivened by dan- 
cing and music by the class of ^akkaiyar whose head was 
Kuttulpatuvon.® The kingship was generally hereditary,'^ 
and the king reigned according to the laws of the land. 
As has been pointed out already the theory of Maru- 
makkattayam as prevalent among the Ceras is not sup- 
ported by the Silappadikaram. On the other hand its 
evidence nullifies any such theory. The king knew the 
evil effects of tyrannical rule'’ and hence endeavoured to 
do justice. 


The three kings of the Tamil land had as their respec- 
tive standards, the bow, the fish, and the tiger. They 

^ Cantos in, 1 . 126; v, 1 . 157; xxvi, L 38. Also Main.j canto i, 1 . 17. 

The enferdyam is also interpreted in a different way as enferumtiinaivar 
{Tamil Lexicon, Vol. I, p- 520). These were professional people who catered 
for the needs of the royal household. We hear Madari the cowherdess saying 
that she had to send ghee to the palace the next day (canto xvii, 1. 7). 

® Cantos XXV, 11 . 107-14 ; xxviii, 1 . 50. ® Canto xxvi, 1 . 125. 

^ Canto xxvii, 1 . 134. ® Mam., canto vii, 1. 12. 



were further distinguished by garlands of palmyra, mar- 
gosa, and atti leaves and flowers. We search the texts 
in vain for a national flag, for politically India was then 
divided into many nations each called after the name of 
their respective tribes. 


Refractory sons were severely dealt with. The ex- 
amples of Manunltikanda Cola, and Killivalavan are fur- 
nished by the epic. When it was feared that some prince 
would stand in the way of the legitimate heir succeeding 
to the throne, the former took to a life of renunciation. 
Ilango- Adigal , the brother of ^enguttuvan, is a case in 


Sometimes it so happened that there was an interval 
between the decease of the reigning king and the appoint- 
ment of his successor. This was what happened at the 
death of Nedunjeliyan by the curse of Kannaki. Then 
the council was in charge of the kingdom till I}amjeliyan, 
the Imperial Viceroy at Korkai, was elected to the throne.^ 


Among the royal amusements were dancing and music 
by professionals. The king often retired to what may 
be called a pleasure resort, ilavandikaippalli. He was 
generally accompained there by his queen. It is .said that 
^enguttuvan spent some time in that park in the company 
of his queen Ilangovenmal.® 


Among the festivities of the state figured the king’s 
birthday. It is called Permidl (also Pcrumangalam) when 
there was a general release of prisoners. Such general 

^ Canto xxvii, IL I32-8, 

Cantos X, 1 . 31 ; xxv, 1 . 4. 



amnesty was also granted on other similar occasions. For 
example, on the occasion of the founding of the temple of 
Pattini Devi, :Senguttuvan ordered the release of prison- 


The Uildbdraddnam was a redeeming feature of the 
royal festivities. It was a gift of gold to the deserving, 
generally a srotriya, equal to the donor’s weight. It 
figures as one of the sixteen mahdddnas as prescribed by 
the Puranas like the Matsya and the Linga Purdnas.^ It is 
said that Senguttuvan made this gift to the Brahman 
M'adalan'"’ on the banks of the Ganges after he had had 
the stone intended for the image of Kannaki bathed in 
the sacred river. 


The department of finance was under the control of a 
body of officials who went by the name Kavidimakkal. 
Perhaps the Kavidi was the chief finance minister who 
looked after the collection of revenues in the right season 
and in the proper way. He was one of the five officials 
whose advice was sought on questions of state finance by 
the king. His establishment went by the name dyah- 
kanakkar,^ which, it is said, announced a remission of 
taxes when the temple of Kannaki was founded. 


As a source of revenue commerce came only next to 
agriculture. There was active trade by land and sea. It 
is said that bales and cartloads were numbered and mark- 
ed {kanneluttu) . The merchants were the wealthiest 
community in the land and the king befriended them by 
honouring them with titles. Etti° was one such title. 

^ Canto xxviii, 11 , 204-5. 

^ See V. R. Dikshitar, Matsya Ptirdna, 1935, p. 9S. 

® Canto xxvii, II, r75“6. "^C^nto xXviii, 11 . 2o.|-6. * Canto xv, I. 163. 




We hear of an Etti ^angaman, a flourishing merchant 
at Madura/ Treasure trove was generally the property 
of the state, and tended to swell the royal exchequer. 
But so far as the Pandyan kingdom was concerned we hear 
that the Pandyan Nedunjeliyan issued a proclamation to 
the effect that treasure and other legitimately acquired 
wealth belonged by right to the discoverer.” 

This proclamation was the result of a representation 
made to the king by a poor young poet who was punished 
by the subordinate officials. Thus this was an exception 
and not the rule. The presents of the hillmen (like those 
at the Nilgiris) to ^enguttuvan'' and the tributes by sub- 
jugated monarchs were other sources of revenue, though 
the income from these items could not have been much. 

The chief item of expenditure was connected with the 
civil and the military establishments of the state. An idea 
of the military expenditure will be apparent from the 
number of the fourfold army and commissariat which fol- 
lowed Senguttuvan on his northern expedition.' 

Chariots ... ... ... lOO 

Elephants ... ... ... 500 

Horses ... ... ... to, 000 

Carts and carriages ... ... 20,000 

Kahjukar ... ... ... 1,000 

Dancing-girls ... ... 102 

Musicians ... ... ... 208 

Jesters ... ... ... too 


We have seen that the army of the ancient Tamils 
consisted of a fourfold classification of chariots, elephants, 
cavalry and infantry. The chief defence was by means 

^ Canto XV, 1. 196- ® Canto xxiii, 11. 128-9. ® Canto xxv, iL 35-55- 

^ Canto xxvi, IL 12S-40. See also M. Raghava Aiyangar, op. cit., p. 134. 



of well furnished fortifications. The battlements and ram- 
parts were mechanically provided with efficient mecha- 
nisms containing curious devices in the shape of monkeys, 
kingfishers, sows, vultures, serpents, horses and swans. ^ 

Before the king left his capital he entertained his 
soldiers with a grand feast and sent his sword and umbrella 
on the state elephant in advance, on an auspicious day. 
After having prayed to the gods in the temples of his 
city and in the Yajhasalas the king actually left his town. 
This was what 5enguttuvan did on the eve of his nor- 
thern expedition.^ Such of the heroes as showed a bold 
front to the end and died, were honoured with Virakkal or 
Nadukal, monuments raised in commemoration of their 
deeds of valour of which a good number are even now 
brought out by the spade of the archaeologist. Before 
the actual operations, an ultimatum was generally sent to 
the enemy king to the effect that those who did not 
voluntarily surrender would have to submit to the horrors 
of war.^ 

A number of musical instruments were displayed on 
the field of battle. These were kodumparai, neduvayir, 
murasam, pdndil, etc. The kings who still opposed him 
in open war were taken prisoners after their defeat and 
released on their submission. The wars were so fierce 
that the soldiers sometimes cast off their arms and escaped 
in the guise of ascetics, musicians and dancers. Brahmans 
and other non-combatants.^ This points to the preva- 
lence of ethical standards in ancient warfare in South 


Passing on to the department of justice we notice that the 
chief magistrates who sat in the hall of justice (Arahkalam) 
when they disposed of cases were Brahmans. The idea 

^ Canto XV, 11 . 206-16. 

® Canto XXV, 11 . 183-94. 

® Canto xxvi, 11 . 52-66. 

* Canto xxvii, 1 . 179 fF. 

42 Introduction 

was that those dispensing justice must be versed in the 
law codes/ 

Though the kings were actuated by the best of motives 
in meting out justice there was sometimes a miscarriage 
as we note in the case of Kovalan." There were jails and 
superintendents of jails. As already noticed there was a 
periodical release of prisoners. Usually capital punish- 
ment was awarded in cases of theft. Among others the 
six chief offenders according to the laws of the state were 
false witnesses, pseudo-sn«TZ3/a.?i??-T, unchaste women, dis- 
loyal ministers, adulterers, and tale-bearers.^ 


Already we have seen that the empire was divided into 
nadus (perhaps answering to modern provinces) and a sub- 
division of the nadu was the kurram (district). But the 
village was the unit of administration. 

Every village had a manram or the village sabhii, 
where the elders transacted the business of the village. 
There were certain tribal settlements in the hills and fore.sts. 
The Eiynar settlement may be cited as an example. E.x- 
cepting these settlements, the villages in general were not 
isolated groups far away from the link of humanity. There 
was active, political and commercial, between 
village and village and between village and city. Learned 
men and pious Brahmans of one kingdom felt at home 
in alien kingdoms. To cite an instance, the Brahman of 
Mankadu, a village in the Cera nddu, visited sacred 
places as far as Cape Comorin through the Cola and 
Pandya kingdoms. In spite of the gloomy trail through 
woods and jungles the roads were safe. There were 
officials appointed by the .state to look after the welfare of 
the villages, and these were to a large extent respon.sible 

^ Cantos xxiiy L 8 ; xxvj, I. 246 ; xxvin, L 222. ® Canto xvi, L 148 IT. 

3 Canto xxiii, 1 . 103. Mat?*., canto I. 133. ♦ Canto II. 128-34. 



for the peace and secnrity of the rural parts. They were 
often aided by the village assembly. 



The celebrated commentator Naccinarkkiniyar divides 
the whole Tamil land into four divisions : Malaimanda- 
1am, Colamandalam, Pandyamandalam, and Tondaiman- 
dalam. In the days of the Silappadikdram there was no 
Tondaimandalam division as such. There were then only 
three divisions. Malaimandalam was already referred to 
as the Cera kingdom. It may be noted in passing that 
the term mandalam in the sense of a province or kingdom 
does not occur in the Sangam works. 

The ancient Ceranadu was constituted by modern 
Salem, Coimbatore, and the Nilgiri districts besides the 
whole of Malabar and a part of Travancore (Velnadu). 
This kingdom occupied five of the twelve divisions which 
comprised all the Tamilagam. The five of the Ceraman- 
dalam were Kuttanadu, Kudanadu, Kongunadu, Pulinadu 
and Maladu (Malainadu). Some of the titles of the Ceras 
like Kuttuvan and Puliyan are coined from the names of 
these territorial divisions. The ancient Kongunadu com- 
prised the modern districts of Salem and Coimbatore. The 
chief rivers of the Cera kingdom were Anporunai (Amara- 
vati), Kudavanaru, Kahji (Noyyil), Kariyaru, ^ulliyaru,’^ 
Periyaru or Ponnani, and Bavani or Vani. To this king- 
dom ^enguttuvan added by conquest Koduhur in the south 
of the Mysore state. Vanjikkaruvur^ was the capital of this 
great kingdom. Tondi and Musiri were the chief ports. 

We are furnished with a full and detailed description of 
the capital city, its suburbs, fortifications, streets and roads, 
public halls, museums, parks, temples and mdtams and 
the palace.® 

^ Sulli falls into the western sea ; at its mouth is the town Musiri. 

® Cantos xxvi, 1. 50; xxviii, I. 196. 

® Mani., canto xxviii j Sila.^ canto xxviii, 11. 48-50, 



The late Kanakasabhai surmised that this Vafiji might 
be Tiru-karur now a deserted viMage three miles from' 
Kothaimangalam and this view has been adopted by some 
of the later scholars without bestowing much thought on 
this all-important question. This theory did not go un- 
challenged. Pandit M. Raghava Aiyangar first identified 
Vanji with Karuvur in Trichinopoly district. Following 
him Mahavidvan R. Raghava Aiyangar, whose authority 
on the Sangam classics cannot be disputed, wrote a book in 
Tamil entitled Vanjimdnagar. The long and short of this 
erudite thesis was to settle once for all the controversy as 
to the location of the original Cera capital, and after a 
critical examination of all the aspects of the question, he 
came to the only possible conclusion that this Vahjikkaru- 
vur was the present town Karur in Trichinopoly district. 
It is not possible nor is it necessary to traverse the ground 
again. If epigraphy were pressed into service, the follow- 
ing would be read with ii\terest : 'A damaged record in the 
Siva temple here (Nerur, a village very near Karur) 
mentions Karuvur as Vahjimanagaram which must help 
to settle the identification of the original Vahji at Karur 
and not at Cranganore on the west coast.” 

The chief mountains are the Kolli hills, the Ayirai 
hills (in which the Ayirai river has its source), and the 
chain of Anamalais. This river Ayirai" must be Ponnani 
(Purnavahini). The hill Ayirai (Aivar-Malai) was sacred 
to the goddess Korravai, the deity of the Ceras. The 
other hills of the Kongunadu are Nanra and Vandamalai, 
the latter south of Karuvur. 


It would appear that the ancient Pandyan kingdom 
extended far into the south where were the Kumari 
hill and the river Pahruli both of which had been 
swallowed up by the sea long before the commencement 

^ Gazetteer of the Trichinopoly District^ VoL II, 1931, p. 130. 

® Cf^nto xxviii, II, 145-6, 

Introduction 45 

of the Christian era.^ As if to compensate for the loss 
of this territory, the Paridyan king Nedunjeliyan added 
by conquest Milalaikkurram^ and the Mutturkkurram^ 
from the Colas, apparently territories in the modern dis- 
trict of Tanjore, ^ and Kundurkurram'^ from the Ceras. 
It is only the gloss that gives this indication, and we have 
no other testimony to confirm it.° 

If we are to follow the traditional account of three 
Sangams, and there is no reason why we should not, the 
ancient capital of the Pandyan kingdom was also swallowed 
up by the sea, and this necessitated the moving of the 
capital to Korkai, probably the Kavatapuram of Sanskrit 
literature. From this again the capital was transferred to 
the modern city of Madura, and this had been effected by 
the time of Pliny as he refers to it.’^ This became the 
seat of the great and ancient academy well known as the 
^angam. Korkai also continued to be a chief city under 
the charge of the crown prince. The chief hill in the 

^ Canto xi, II. 17-22 ; see cumnientary on canto viii, 11 . 1-2. 

2 It is rather diflicult to identify this, though South Indian inscriptions 
often mention this as part t>f Fandinadu. For instance a record in the four- 
teenth year of the Piinclyan king Jatavarnian Sundara Fandya of the thir- 
teenth centui'y a.d. refers to it, (See also Tamil record No. 67 of 1910-) 
Tamil records Nos. 460-1 of 1909 refer to two places, Kilkiirru and Kalakurru 
as subdivisions of Milalaikkurrain. NaduvTrkurru is another subdivision 
according to Tamil records, of 1908 and 425 of 1911. 

^ This i.s also referred to in a number of inscriptions. Tamil record No. 59 
of 1909, dated in the thirteenth year of the Pandyan King Jatavarnian mentions 
Mutturkkurram in Pandyamandaiam. .See also 441 of 1904, 86 of 1905 and 80 
and 266 of 1907. In the thirteenth and lourteenth centuries Kappalur seems 
to have been an important place in this subdivision (see Nos. 425 and 429 
of 1913). 

* K. A. Nilakantfi .Sa.stri, The Panilyan Kiui>dom, p. 28. 

® This can be indentified with Kundui'kurr‘'“an occurring in the Madura 
inscription of a Pandyan king name is lost. According to thi.s, Kun- 
cjCir was the capital of Kundurkfirram, and this kiirram formed a part of 
Aiujanadu (see LM.P., Vol. II, p. 1036, ed. by V. Rangachary). .A.ccording to 
a record of Trichinopoly district, 460 of 1908, it came to be known later as 
R a j an ar ay a n a- C a t u r v ed i m angal am . 

® p- 303- 

^ E. H. Warmington, The Commerce between the Roman Empire and 
Indta^ 1928, p. 167. 

46 Introduction 

kingdom was Podiyil, the residence of the sage Agastya 
if we are to believe the traditional account, and the im- 
portant river was the Vaigai which was crossed when in 
flood by boats and canoes. 

The limits of the ancient Panciyan kingdom may 
roughly be stated to have comprised the modern dis- 
tricts of Madura, Ramnad and "I'innevclly. The \’^ellar 
flowing through the Pudukkottai State formed its northern 
boundary. The Cola kingdom consisted of a part of the 
modern Trichinopoly district, as well as Tanjore, Chingle- 
put and South Arcot districts. I'he Toncjaimandalam 
which rose to prominence under the Pallavas was an 
appendage to the old Cdlamandalam. It was in its turn 
divided into a number of nadus and kurranis. Like the 
Pandyan kingdom the Colamandalam had two capital 
cities IJraiyur (Sans., Uragapuram) in the Trichino{>oly 
district and Kaverippattinam in the Tanjore district. 
The latter achieved prominence under Karikalaccolan, 
the son of Ilamcetcenni, but a part of it was destroyed 
by the sea in the course of two generations. It con- 
sequently lost its ancient glory as the principal scat of 

According to the Pcriplus the capital city Uraiyur was 
the chief mart for pearls and the well-known Argynitic 
muslins ; Argynitic being an adjective derived from the 
name Uragapuram. Sixty years later Ptolemy states that 
Uraiyur was the capital. The Kaveri was the only 
important river of the Cola country. 

To conclude, ‘the traditional meeting-place of the three 
Tamil kingdoms was the temple of Sellandi xA-mman f>n the 
banks of the Kaveri, twelve miles west of Kulittalai and 
three miles below the junction of the Amaravati and the 
Kaveri. The temple was the common place of wor.ship of 
the kings of the three Tamil dynasties ; a bund which runs 

^ For a detailed description the city, its fortifications, streets and roads, 
sec cantos v and vi. 

Introduction 47 

to the south of the river marks the boundary between the 
Cola and the Pandya territories, and the Karaipottanar on 
the opposite bank of the river 'W'as the boundary between 
the Cola and the Cera kingdoms.’^ 



Man is a religious animal and invokes the assistance of 
superhuman beings in his weal and woe. This invocation 
comprises rituals of fasting and feasting, singing and 
dancing. These are believed to please the deity who in his 
turn is expected to shower blessings on his worshippers. 
The chief gods invoked by the ancient Tamils were. 5ey6n 
(also Murugan and Velan) and Mayon (Krsna or the Black 
God). Other gods worshipped were i5iva, Korravai or the 
Goddess of Victory, Balarama, V^una, Indra, etc. There 
is a view th^lt some of these were peculiar to the different 
regions (of w'hich five are distinguished) in the Tamil, 
land.® But these are also Vedic and Puranic gods, and 
their mention in early Tamil poetry shows that the assimi- 
lation and the blend of the two cultures, Sanskrit and 
Tamil, was a thing of the ancient past. The earliest 
extant work in Tamil, the Tolkdppiyani bears evidence of 
this. Similar ideas arc found scattered in the Silappadi- 
kdrani, and the twin epics betray clear influence of the 
Buddha and the Jaina cults which had come to stay in the 
Tamil land. 

Side by side with these dissenting sects of which three 
are mentioned — the Btuldha, the Jaina and the Ajivaka, 
the established religion of the land was in a flourishing 
condition. At the outset, it must be remarked that there 
was no nice distinction between the orthodox religion and 
the so-called religion of the dissenting sects. The funda- 
mental principles of all these sects were the same, and the 

^ Gazetteer of the Trichinopoly District, VoL II, P* ^ 7 * 

“ See History of the Tamils, p. 75 fT. 



differences, if any, were minor and trivial. It was in 
philosophical outlook and speculation that there was any 
difference, and hence the masses of the people to whom the 
higher philosophy was a sealed book did not trouble them- 
selves about it. The religious discussions were only 
among the cultured few, and differences in opinions and 
views among them were treated with mutual respect. By 
the orthodox religion we mean .‘saivism and Vaisnavism. 
Even here the bitter hatred of the Saiva and \'"aisnava cults 
as separate sects, which was only a later growth on the 
tree of Indian religion, is totally absent in the Silappadi- 
kdram. It is not possible to say whether in the tiays of the 
epic a certain person was a Saiva or \’^aisna\'a in his creed, 
and hence he cannot be marked exclusively a Saiva or 
exclusively a Vai.snava. In fine, the sectarian spirit was 
totally absent, and every person M'as both a iSaiva and 
a Vaisnava. Madari, a devotee of Krsna and hence a 
Vaisnava paid respects to Kavundi-Adiga], a Jain sintnyd- 

A classic example is Ceran .'ncnguttuvan himself. 
Besides his prayers at the Agnihotrasala of his palace on 
the eve of his expedition to the north, the king went to 
the Siva temple and bore the feet of the Lord on his 
head as a mark of respect to Him. At this time the 
priests of the temple of Atakamapam, the local \hiisnava 
temple, gave him the prasddain (garland of flowers) which 
he wore on his shoulders. The commentator has identi- 
fied Atakamatam with the Trivandrum Padmanabhasvami 
temple. But as Pandit R. Raghava Aiyangar has ably 
argued that once the thesis that Karur was the capital of 
the Ceras is established, it could not be that priests came 
all the way from Trivandrum to Karur, and that therefore 
we must look for thei temple in or near Karur. ^ Therefore 
this must be the Ranganatha temple in Karur, while the 

^ Vanjtmdnagar; cf. canto xxvi, commentary on L 62 ; VoL V. 

p. 1 16* 



Siva temple must have been the Pasupatikoil of that 

The epic also mentions the great shrines dedicated to 
Subrahmanya like Tiruccendur, Tiruccengode, Erakam 
and Venkuni;u." 'I'he dances Ludikkiittu and kudaikkuiiu 
are attributed to Subrahmanya as the kodukotti and the 
pdndarangavi are to Siva. 

The worship of the Devi as the Korravai or the 
Goddess of Victory and of Manimekalai as the chief 
guardian deity of the sea is seen throughout. The idea 
diat Lak-sml, Sarasvati and Parvati represent different 
aspects of the same Power is evident from the venhd in 
Canto xxii. I'his reminds us of the Lalitopakhyana portion 
of the Brahmanda Pitrdna where it is stated that the original 
goddess at Kahci was Mahalaksmi who came to be known 
in latter times as Kamaksl. The ritual dance vettuva- 
vari in honour of Korravai was often performed by hill 
tribes like the Mar.avar. I'hc opening lines of Canto xii, 
in fact the whole canto, describe this dance, and in this 
connexion we find that among the hali (offerings) men- 
tioned, human and bloody sacrifices were not uncommon.^ 
The Devi is often praised as the destroyer of Mahisasura. 

The ritual dance connected with Visnu goes by the 
name of the kuravaikkuttu (probably Sans., Rasakrida). 
This kind of dance was largely performed by the female 
members of the community in honour of the god Krsna 
who, tradition affirms, married the cowherdess Pinnai in 
the same way that Murugan married VaUi, a hill girl. 
When Kbvalan was executed under the orders of the 
Pandyan king, the city was visited with a number of ill 
omens which indicated some disaster to the city and its 
residents. According to the belief of the times such things 
could be averted by invoking deities dear to them. Hence 

^ Dikshitar also visited this ancient town and is inclined to confirm the 
learned pandit’s opinion. ® Canto xxiv, p. 516. 

3 See in this connexion E. A. Payne, The Sdhtas, introductory chapter. 




a kiiravaikkfdttc was arranged by Madari and her daughter 
Aiyai in the presence of Kannaki. Another kunwaikkrittii 
was performed by the women of the hill tribes on the 
Neduvelkunram, the hill which Kannaki reached after the 
conflagration at Madura, and where, as she stood under 
the vengai tree, a celestial car came down and took her 
to Heaven. In honour of Kannaki, these ladies arranged 
a dance and performed it wnth success. 

Connected with the worship of Krsna was the worship 
of Balarama, his elder brother. That there was a cult 
of Balarama is obvious from the mention of a separate 
temple to him.’ Prof. R. G. Bhandarkar is of opinion 
that the cult of Balarama was known in Patahjali’s time. 
It is not clear when the cult became extinct." It is remark- 
able that the worship of Balarama was in vogue in Tamil 
South India in the time of the Silappadikarani 

Again, we find evidence in the .'5ilappadikdra}]i of 
the existence of separate temples to the Sun God, the 
Moon God, the Kalpa 'Free, the Airavada, the V’ajra, 
Cattail, and other Pasancla gods.' In the cities were 
found local shrines for the guardian deities. Such definite 
statements as to the existence of temples bear testimony 
to the fact that the institution of the temple had a 
much more ancient origin than that wc would at present 
imagine. Evidence is not altogether lacking that temples 
existed in India in the fourth millenium B.c. as the recent 
finds of the Indus Valley indicate. Again, the four 
Butams named after the four castes and the Buta at the 

^ Canto ix, 1 . 10. 

® See his .*^atini,}ny Vai.snavii^ni, tifui niinor reUgious systems^ p. ij. 

® Dewan Bahadur K- S. Raniaswami Sastri drew my altenttoa to a tcniplf* 
of Balarama at Udal^hanesvarain on th(‘ .scaslua'e at a sh<»rt distance* 
from I'cjupT, tledicatetl by .^ri Madhavacarya, wor.ship being conducted there 
down to the present time. 

An image of Balarama said to be a typical example of the Kushana 
period, Ls one of the acquisitions noted in the da. Rep. of the U. P. Provin- 
cial Museum, Lucknow, for the year ending X930. 

* Canto ix, II. 9-15. 



Butacatukkam were also offered prayers. Among the 
Vedic deities Indra, V^aruna and Agni are invoked. In 
more than one place, there are references to Vedic Brah- 
mans, their fire-rites, and their chanting of the Vedic 
hymns. The Brahman received much respect from the 
king and was often given gifts of wealth and cattle. The 
purdhita (dsdn) held a high status among the chief officials 
of the state, and he was a member of the cabinet which 
the king consulted on matters affecting the state. This is 
not unnatural as the Tamil kings claimed to be Ksatriyas 
and the literary tradition connected them with the Solar 
and Lunar races. 

Among the deities of the heretical sects, viz. the Pasan- 
das, of whom the Divdkaram distinguishes as many as 
ninety-six sects, the Rattan is prominently mentioned. 
Even now remains of these old ;Sasta temples are found 
in the boundary limits of villages, and people in distress 
invoke their aid to tide over their difficulties. As now, 
in olden days the temples of these deities were frequently 
visited by distressed people and their wishes were granted. 
These Sasta temples appear to be indigenous to South 
India, where they are largely found, especially in the 
Tamil districts. But in the age of the Silappadikdram 
owing to the impact of Sanskrit culture the ^asta cult was 
apparently treated as heretical in character.’^ 

We do not propose to deal fully with the three dis- 
senting sects of Hinduism to which reference has already 
been made. There are references to the Buddha, the 
Indravihara of Puhar, and the Mab5di,^ but the references 
to Buddhism which can be gleaned from the epic are very 
few. This is probably because the other epic Manime- 
kalai gives a full treatment of the subject. In the same 

^ It is interesting to note in this connexion that Sfista or Mahaj^asta is 
the son born of Siva when He embraced Mohini (Visnu in disguise), and hence 
he is called Hariharaputra. According to Adiyarkkunallar and the Divdka- 
ram another name for Sattan is Satavahanan, 

® Canto X, 11 . 1 1-14. 

52 Introduction 

way there are but few references to the ^amana sect, 
the Ajivaka, and to know what it is, one has to turn again 
to the pages of the Manimekalai. It may be remarked in 
passing that all these sects were patronized by Asoka, the 
Mauryan Emperor. 

Some details about the Jaina practices and customs are 
also furnished by the Silappadikdraw . P'rom a study 
of Canto XV one is tempted to conclude that Kovalan and 
Kannaki followed the Jain practice of bathing and cloth- 
ing and eating. In fact they did so at Madari’s house. But 
the evidence of the Manimekalai shows that they were 
Buddhists. As has already been said the distinctions 
between the orthodox religion and the other sects were 
not sharp. While Senguttuvan was of the orthodox faith, 
his brother Ijango-Acligal is at least contended to have 
been a Jaina, and the poet Kulavanikan .‘satlanar, their 
common friend, was a Buddhist. This is not peculiar to 
South India. We know, for example, that members of’s family ‘acted on their individual preferences in 
the matter of religion’. While Prabhakaravardhana, 
Harsa’s father, followed the worship of the Sun, his elder 
son Rajyavardhana was a Buddhist. Harsa worshipped 
the Sun, Buddha and 5iva. And yet there was no con- 
flict of interests among them.' 

Again while the parents of Kov’alan were Buddhists, 
those of Kannaki embraced the Ajivaka faith." Thus 
different members of the same household followed differ- 
ent faiths and there was no sectarian spirit among them. 
Only two explanations can be offered for this. Either the 
people did not look upon religious distinctions .seriously, 
or there were no fundamental differences between one sect 
and another. To every one of them, karma was a factor 
to be reckoned with. Man’s actions bad or goo<l are 

^ V. A. Smith, The Early History of India, 4th ecL, revised by S. M. 
Edwardes, pp. 358-9. Sec also R. K. Mookerjee, Harsha (Rulers of India 

^ Canto xxvii, 11 , 90-100. 



bound to yield results bad or good. Suffering in this 
birth may not necessarily be due to unrighteous acts done 
now but may be the result of past actions. Hence man 
must do his duty (svadharma) if he wants to attain salva- 
tion. The people in those days seem to have pinned 
their faith to this doctrine as many do even now. 

Before we close this section it is worth noting that of 
all the Vedic gods, the worship of Indra is prominently 
mentioned. In fact the whole of Canto v of the epic is 
devoted to a detailed description of the festival of Indra 
and festivities connected with it. It would appear from 
the canto that the king interested himself in celebrating 
that festival with grand success, and to witness it, gods and 
men came even from remote parts of North India. It 
was an annual festival lasting' for a number of days. It 
commenced on the full moon day in the month of Cittirai 
(April), and with the preliminary worship of the guardian 
deity who was sent by Indra to help an ancient king of 
the Puhar line, Mucukunda. Sacrifices were offered in 
the five different manrams of the city of Puhar. ^ One 
feature of the festival was the removal of the drum from 
the Vajrakkottam to the Airavada temple, where it was 
placed on the nape of the elephant sacred to Indra. The 
bathing ceremony of Indra was the important day of the 
festival. We hear of the Indradhvajam festival in Sans- 
krit literature® which can be Identified with the ceremony 
of talaikhdl in Tamil literature, but there was no actual 
celebration of Indra’s festival. How the ancient Tamils 
took to this special form of Indra’s worship still remains 
a puzzle. 



If the Manimekalai can be characterized a philosophico- 
religious work, the 3ilappadikaram can be said to be a 

U. 140-4. 

E.g. Vtramitrddaya Rdjanttiprakd^a, pp. 421-33. 



treatise on political and social life.’^ Here we have a 
description of the three capitals with their g-lowing culture 
and civilisation. In the busy streets of the cities any 
number of people belonging- to various nations were met, 
most of them having come on commercial and other busi- 
ness. The municipal administration was excellent. The 
roads and streets were kept in good condition and were 
lighted. Committing nuisance in public streets was punish- 
able. The houses seem to have been well built and pro- 
perly provided with ventilation. Seven-storied building's 
were not uncommon in the ancient cities, thus pointing to 
a considerable development of engineering skill in ancient 
South India. Among the communities the Brahmans 
received much respect especially for their learning in the 
sacred lore and for their continuance of the fire-rites. They 
were often awarded rich presents both in cash and kind. 
They were left unmolested during times of war, as was the 
case during ^enguttu van’s battle on the banks of the 
Ganges. Next came the merchant community, and being 
the wealthiest community its members w'ere honoured with 
titles by the reigning chieftains of the land. 

Life in towns was one of luxury and case. Some of 
the amusements of the people were dumb-.shows and 
dancing accompanied by music, both vocal and instrumen- 
tal. Women freely participated in such amenities of life. 
They attended temples and took part in the public dances. 
They decked themselves with costly attire and ornaments 
and made themselves attractive. Their clothes were of 
cotton, wool, silk, and even rat’s hair." One mode of 
their decoration was the painting of their bodies with 
scented pastes and powders and the wearing of garlands of 

The womenfolk in towns can be classified into two 
divisions : housewives attending to household duties and 

1 As Dikshitar has clevoteti a long chapter to this question in his book 
Sti^dies: in Tamil Literatnre and History only a bare outline is given here, 

^Canto xiv, 11 . 205-7, comm. 



leading pure lives, and prostitutes who were public women 
living in special quarters where the voluptuous young men 
of the city thronged. Even married men resorted to these 
places and wasted all their wealth on these courtesans, 
caring little for their wedded wives. A typical example 
is Kdvalan who spent all his fortune on Madavi the 
dancing-girl, as a result of which he became so poor that 
he had to go to Madura to earn a living. Outside the 
city in the suburbs, were public places which were the 
residences of ascetics and penance-performers, both ortho- 
dox and heterodox. 


If the town life was rich, the village life was equally 
so. The villagers, of whom the agriculturists, cowherds 
and shepherds formed the majority, led a simple life 
attending to their hereditary professions of cultivation and 
cattle- tending. The villages were not altogether cut off 
from the activities of town life. There were means of 
transport which were, primarily, bullock-carts on land and 
boats on water. Between the villages, or more 'properly 
between two great towns, thick forests abounded with 
wild animals and serpents, streams and springs of water, 
fruit trees and trees of other kinds, cornfields and flower 
gardens. Ilangd-Adigal gives us a vivid picture of all 
this when describing the route from ancient Puhar to 

The monotonous life of the villager was often enliven- 
ed by rural amusements of a varied character. Every 
village had a common dancing-hall (kalam).^ Even the 
village women took part in these public performances like 
the tunangai, a kind of dance. Having enough to eat 
and drink, the villagers led a contented and happy life. 
Notwith-standing the security and peace afforded by the 

^ Captofl X“xi, 

® ManL^ canto iv, 1, 6r 

^ Canto V, L yo* 



kings of the land, theft was not uncommon. H'he Mara- 
var who lived in forests and desert tracts, otherwise known 
as the Eiynar, who were often employed as soldiers in 
wars by the Tamil kings, had for their chief profession 
highway robbery d They often deprived the unwary way- 
farer of his belongings : cattle lifting- was one feature of 
their thieving. They were addicted to liquor and ate from 
a common table. They hunted the wild hog, boar and 
deer, whose flesh they ate, using their skins as clothes 
and their ivory teeth and nails as ornaments. 


Another aspect of social life deserving notice is mar- 
riage. In the ancient Tamilagam two forms of marriage 
were prevalent, the kalavu and the karpu (i.e. marriage 
in secrecy and marriage in the open). It was rr peculiar 
custom of the Icalavu that the lover secretly met 
the unmarried girl of his choice and made overtures of 
love to her. This roughly corresponds to the oandharva 
form of marriage. The lover usually came bearing a 
present in his hand as a token of his love. It was one 
of the divisions of the kaikkilai form of lovc.“ The 
whole of the canto 'Kanalvari’ is a dissertation on the 
different stages of the kalovu form of marriag-e.''* The 
karpiyal form which had already taken the place of the 
kalaviyal, from the epoch of the Tolkdppiyavi if not earlier,'* 
had come to stay by the time of the epics. Though there 
are details of the kalavti form of marriage, it seems to have 
been confined to certain communities such as those living 
near the seaside or those living in the hills. In other 
words, the people in the lower stages of culture adopted 
it. In the more civilized parts of the land, the form of 

^See also Dikshitar’.s paper ‘The F.iynar’ in Sentnmil, Vol. XXXI, No. i. 

® Tolls. ^ ‘PoruF, sutrams 104-6. 

® For further details see canto xxi\% ‘Kunrakkuravai\ 

^ Tolh.y *Karpiyar, sutra ij.. 



marriage was that laid down in the Dharmasdstras and the 
Grhyasutras. The chanting of the Vedic mantras by the 
purohita, the circumambulation of fire and similar customs 
show the profound influence which Sanskrit culture had on 
the Tamils. If the Tamils took to northern customs of 
marriage, the northerners who settled in the Tamil land also 
adopted some of the Tamil practices in their system of 
marriage. The tying of tali (mdngalyam) or a sacred 
thread to the neck of the bride by the bridegroom is an 
instance in point. There is no warrant in the ancient law- 
codes for this practice. It is a practice of the Tamils copied 
in later times by the so-called Aryans. This is another 
instance of the harmonious fusion of the two ancient 


Passing on, we meet with a wealth of material for an 
elaborate study of music and dancing. There was ritual 
singing and ritual dancing. Dancing as a part of reli- 
gious worship is in evidence among the ancient peoples. 
It is said^ that ‘in early Christianity bishops led the faith- 
ful in the sacred dances both in the churches and before 
the tombs of the martyrs’. We also hear that the Tara- 
humare Indians of Mexico regard the dance as ‘a very 
serious and ceremonial matter, a kind of worship and in- 
cantation rather than amusement’ . 

A dance conducted with the intention of moving the 
deity becomes a real form of prayer and this is in evi- 
dence in the Tamil classic. In addition there were dumb- 
shows ; but there is no evidence of any regular play having 
been enacted. 

The Silappadikdram furnishes the legendary origin of 

^ The marriage of Knnriaki and Kovalan is a description of marriage in 
high life. See canto i for the preliminaries, the pandal^ the religious and 
social functions ending with the aiirvada rites. 

* E. Crawley, The Mystic Rose, Vol. I, 1927, p. 371 1 



dancing. Once in the sahJia of Indra, his son Jayanta 
misbehaved with the heavently actress UrvasI, in a manner 
that enraged the sage Agastya who cursed Jayanta to be 
born a bamboo stick in the Vindhya hills, and Urvas! a 
courtesan on the earth. Hence the name Jayanta is cele- 
brated in the ceremony and wor.ship of talaikkoL It was 
a bamboo stick symbolical of Jayanta. Often the handle 
of the umberlla of an enemy-king was used as the talaikkoL 
It was duly bathed and adorned and carried in procession 
before it was finally taken to the public theatre. I'he 
actress for the day placed it on her head perhaps to serve 
as an equipoise when regular dancing began. 

The worship of Murugan and Mayoin included dancing 
as a relieving feature of the occasion. The former is the 
war-god and the latter the love-goil. But a number of 
dances are associated with gods like fsiva, Durgii, Indranl, 
besides Murugan and Kr.sna. Adiyarkkunallar informs us 
that Krsna danced ten kinds of dances' (of which alliyak- 
kutiu, malladal, and kudakkutiu are mentioned in the text) 
after his victory over, Banasura, and after the 
release of Aniruddha. Ijangb-Adigal refers to the dances 
of fsiva, Murugan Kama, Durga, Laksmi, ami IndranT. 
5iva is said to have danced the kodukotti and pavdarangani 
dances after the burning of the IVipura (Three Cities) in 
the presence of Brahma who was his charioteer at that time." 
Murugan is .said to have danced the iadi after exposing 
the deceit of 5urasura ; Kama (the Cod of Love) the dance 
of Hermaphrodite ; Durga the dance of mamkkal after 
vanqui.shing the asicras ; Laksmi (the Goddess of Wealth) 
the dance of pdvai after her victory over the asnras : 
IndranT the kadayani after defeating Banasura. But it is 
difficult to find similar references to these dances in Sanskrit 
literature. Of the eleven kinds of tlancing,'^ two divisions 
are distinguished : nilaininrdtal (a < lance fixing oneself in 
a particular station) ; and padam vihitatal. Six dances like 

^ Canto vi, L 46 ff. 

ibid., 1. 39 ff. 

^ ibid,, 1. 65, comm, 



the alliyam constitute the first division and five like the 
tudi the second division. 

In addition to these are the kuravaikkuttu so elabo- 
rately explained in the epic and performed by the women 
of the cowherd and other communities. It is said that 
Krsna and Pinnai once engaged in that kind of dance. 
There was also the kiittu of the Maravar in honour of 
Korravai. The Silappadikdram shows an advanced state 
of evolution in' the art of dancing. From primitive 
ritual dancing, it became transformed into a mere form of 
secular amusement. This must have been due to the 
profound influence exerted by the classic works like the 
Bharatandtyasdstra. The term desikkuttu in the ‘Aran- 
gerrukadai’ will itself explain the indigenous as opposed to 
the alien forms of dancing introduced into the Tamil 
country. In explaining the technical terms the commen- 
tator quotes as authorities such authors as Seyirriyanar, 
Mativanar, Baratasenapatiyar, Gunanulutaiyar, Jayanta- 

From a study of relevant portions of our epic, the 
kuttus may be broadly classified into vettiyal and podu- 
viyal. Another classification was sdntikkuitu and vinddak- 
kuttuP Dancing was always to the accompaniment of 
music. The 3ilappadikdram belongs to the class of isait- 
tamil in the sense that it has six cantos on music — 
‘Arangerrukadai’ , ‘Kanalvari’, ‘ Venirkadai’ , ‘Aycciyar- 
kuravai’, ‘ Kunrakkuravai' and ‘Vettuvavari’ . Melody is 
fully realized as the basis of Hindu music. The structure 
of the musical modes or rdgas rests invariably on a sys- 
tem of seven notes. W. W. Hunter remarks : dt is 
indeed impossible to adequately represent the Indian 
system by the European notation ; and the full range of 
its effects can only be rendered by Indian instruments, a 
vast collection of sound producers, slowly elaborated 

^ For details see Adiyarkkunallar’s commentary, pp. 79-80, 

6o Introduction 

during 2,000 years to suit the special requirements of 
Hindu Music. 

South Indian music, usually called Karnataka music 
seems to follow largely the theory, modes and notation of 
early Sanskrit musicians. But still in many respects it 
differs from them and maintains a distinct individuality un- 
broken for centuries together. Refinements were intro- 
duced from time to time in the original ragas.~ 

It would be an interesting study to examine the ancient 
theory of music, and its practice by means of musical 
instruments in use." But it is so technical in character that 
it is rather difficult to understand the full significance of 
the text in spite of elaborate commentaries on it. Isai is 
the technical term for music and singing, secular and 
religious, and may be vocal or instrumental or both. 
Suffice it here to say that the ancient Tamils like the 

ancient Greeks had a highly develo}:>ed art of music.'* 

There were musicians of both sexes. 'I'he male singers 
were known as pd-nars and female sing-ers as viralis and 
pd.dinis. They went from place to place displaying their 

musical talents and thus earning their livelihood. In 

addition to these professionals the ancient Tamils were 
lovers of music. Four varieties of tunes — />««, panniyar- 
riram, tirani, iirattiram — were developeil, ajipropriate per- 
haps to each of the four regions into which the whole 
Tamil land was divided. 7 "he ‘y\rangerrukadai’ (canto iii) 
is a treatise by itself on the various aspects of musical 
science. Besides the text, the commentary throws wel- 
come light without which it is not po.ssible to make out 
anything of the ancient modes of Tamil music. 

The qualifications of the songster, the drummer, the 
flutist, and the vind player are described in elaborate 

^ The Imperial Gazetteer of India, Vol. VI, ‘IntiiJi’, p. iii. 

® See introduction to M. S. Ramaswnmi Aiynr\s S7Htya7nvlakah'imdhi. 

3 For a collection of important extracts from the epic see M. Abraham 
Pandithar’s Karundmrtasdgarani^ 1917, pp. 526 ff. 

* For a short history of music, see W. J. Turner’s Music in *The How 
^nd Why Series’, 



detail. The songster must possess the instinct to group 
and develop the notes by distinguishing the foreign from 
the indigenous.^ 

He and his assistants like the drummer must be versed 
in ndtaka literature which is divided into two parts, one 
relating to the king and the court, and the other relating 
to the common people. The drummer had to adjust his 
performance to that of the songster so that the latter might 
not feel the strain, nor the audience the monotony of the 
pure song. He supplied the deficiencies of the vocalist 
and the instrumentalist by appropriately swelling or reducing 
the sound of the drum. His skill much depended on the 
practice of his hand.^ The flutist was a practised hand in 
what was known as cittirappunarppu which was nasalizing 
the hard consonants in singing a musical piece. He must 
be an expert in the use of his fingers.® 

The vlnd player^ must be versed in fourteen palais, 
four pertaining to the lower key, seven to the medium and 
three to the higher. In this w^ay he adjusted the sound. 

From a study of Canto iii in the Silappadikdram three 
kinds of musical performance can be distinguished — 
the vmd, the flute and the vocal. The musician exhibited 
his skill either by playing on the vind or flute, or by sing- 
ing, but in all cases he was accompanied by the low- 
voiced mrdangam and similar instruments. Four kinds 
of vlnd are referred to by the commentator — periydl, 
makaraydl, sakddayal, sengoUiydl. The ydl was distin- 
guished by the number of its strings. The flute was classi- 
fied into five types according to the material of which it was 
made : bamboo, sandalwood, bronze, red catechu and 
ebony. Of these bamboo was the best, bronze middling 
while sandalwood and the others were inferior. The flute 
had seven holes for the seven svaras — sa, ri, ga, ma, pa, 
da, ni. Seven fingers were pressed into service when 

^ Canto iii, 11 . 30-S. 

® ibid., II. 56-69. 

2 ibid., 11. 45”55- 
* ibid., 11. 7o*-94- 



playing- on the flute. ^ I'he seven fingers are three of the 
left hand leaving out the thumb and the small finger, and 
four of the right hand leaving out the thumb. 

Of percussion instruments, which were generally hit 
with a stick and were accompaniments for any perform- 
ance, thirty-one kinds were distinguished. All of them 
were made of stretched skins.” 

A qualified actress went through seven years’ training 
from her fifth year to her twelfth, cind exhibited her skill 
on the public steige to win the appreciation and approval 
of the king.’’ 



The remark has been made already that the ancient 
Tamils were, like all ancient peoples, god-fearing, simple, 
superstitious, and almost ready to take things for granted. 
That they had a number of deities and that they sent their 
prayers to the gods in their daily life has been indicated 
in the foregoing pages. It was an age of crude astro- 
logy, and its aid was sought whenever any one fell ill 
and sickness persisted. This wiis especially so when 
girls were stricken with lo\'e-sickness. Little knowing that 
their unmarried daughters were under the frenzy of love, 
their parents treateil them for one sickness or another. 
The final relief came, of course, only with the marriage 
of the girl. Side by side with this, the ancient 'Famils 
attached much importance t<j dreams. I'here -was the 
belief that a dream foreshadowed coming fortune or 
misfortune. It was believed that a dream, as they re- 
membered it, would come true at some future time. 
Kannaki had an evil dream which she communicated to 
Devandi ; and the Pandyan queen tlreamt a horrid dream 

^ P- lor. ^ Sludivs in Tamil iMeratnrc , p. 299 n. 

® For the construction of the stage, ibid., pp. 295-^6. 

Introduction 63 , 

on the eve of the conflagration at Madura, of which she 
informed her husband, the king Nedufijeliyan/ There 
was in existence a treatise on dreams which foretold the 
results of dreams, good or bad. Adiyarkkunallar quotes 
from that book in his commentary.^ 

We may draw one or two references from the text to 
show how the ancient Tamils were superstitious. The 
ndtkdl and the practice of parasthdnam on an auspicious 
day on the eve of starting on distant expeditions or other 
parts of the country may be cited. The appearance of a 
hump-backed bull from an opposite direction when setting 
out on any business was supposed to lead to calamity. “ 
The following among others were supposed to spell disaster 
to the State : The falling down of the sceptre and the 
royal umbrella of their own accord ; the appearance of 
Indra’s bow (a rainbow) at night, and the falling of stars 
during the day-time, were regarded as omens' foretelling 
that some evil was in store for the ruling house and even 
for the kingdom. They had faith in gods and goddesses 
flying in the air to give aid to the distressed, such as 
the shipwrecked, and they also heard with faith the preach- 
ings of Caranas, and other divinities whose feet did 
not of course touch the earth. Faith in the eflicacy of 
mantras like the pancdk'^ara and astdhsara was widespread. 
Belief in evil spirits who made a feast of dead and wounded 
bodies, and also frequented burial grounds, is attested to. 
The ancient Tamils had their own belief in expiatory cere- 
monies ; for example, Kovalan helped in her prdyascittam 
(expiation) the Brahman lady who killed the mungoose. 
They took purificatory baths in sacred pools of water and 
gave lavish gifts in cash and kind to the deserving, all of 
which, it was believed, would stand them in good stead in 
their lives after death. It is significant that there was a 
treatise on theft known as Karavatam, to which the state 

^ p. 408. 

^ Canto XX, 1 . i 

^ Canto XX. II. 1-12. 

® Canto xvi, 11. loo-ioi- 

64 Introduction 

goldsmith referred in his arg'ument with the executioners 
of KSvaland 

The existence of a high degree of excellence in the art 
of painting is clear from the reference to Oviyaniil, to the 
different aspects and modes of painting, and the large use 
of it on walls of houses and on stage curtains. In 
this connexion the commentator furnishes notes from the 
Ndtakaniil, Pancahdratiyani and other works now lost to 
us. The carving out of Kannaki’s image and the building 
of temples, pallia, and kdtfauis also substantiate the view 
that sculpture and architecture were developed to the 
same high degree as the other fine arts, such as music and 
dancing. In fact, mention is made of all the sixty-four 
arts known to the Tamils." 



The life described in the 3ilappadikdra)u is generally 
permeated by Aryan concepts and Aryan religious ideas. 
This is also true of .‘^angam works like the Tolkdppiyam, 
the Narrinai, the anthologies of the Ahandnuru and the 
Purandvuru. It is evident that the Tamil imagination has 
been from early times influenced by Aryan culture. It can 
be safely asserted that in the iSangain age the original Tamil 
culture was transformed into a synthesis of Sanskrit and 
Tamil elements. The author of the .‘^ilappadikdrani must 
have had first-hand knowledge of the Sanskrit works on 
drama and music as well as of the Epics, and the Puranas. 
The following among the many may be cited as instances 
of Ai'yan influence in South India. 

(i) The opening lines of the first chapter are 
laudatory of Surya, Candra, Indra, and 
Varuna of the Vedic literature. 

Canto xvi, 1 . 1S9- 

® Vatsyayana’s Kdmasutra, Bk. I, § 3, st. 14-5, comm* 

® For similar references see Tolk.^ *Porur, mira 8S ; KuIUlogai, st. 141, 

Introduction 65 

(ii) In the first chapter again we find that the 

marriage rites of Kovaian and Kannaki 
were performed in the Aryan fashion with 
the help of a learned Brahman purdhita.^ 
The bridegroom went around the fire as 
enjoined^ by the Grhyasutras on Vaisyas, 
and Kovaian was a Vaisya. The fire-cult 
had been introduced into the Tamil country 
in much earlier times, “ and the monarchs of 
old engaged in Vedic Yajnas or sacrifices. 
Instances of this are not lacking. We 
have the Cola Rajasuyamvetta Perunar- 
killi, the Cera Celkelu-kuttuvan, the Pandya 
Palyagasalai-Mudukudumi. ^ 

(iii) There is again a reference to the region of 

Uttarakurus or the Bhogahhumi of San- 
skrit literature in Canto ii of the epic and 
elsewhere, and the Padirruppattu speaks® 
of Palai-Gautamanar going to Heaven in 
human form helped by his king Palyanaic- 
celkelu-kuttuvan . 

(iv) The general description of dancing and music, 

the dance of Madavi in particular before 
the Cola king, and the very names Madavi, 
Citrapati, and Madari lead us to infer that 
the author is indebted to Aryan ideas. 
Though the ydl is a characteristic Tamil 
instrument, the art and science of dancing 
reveal borrowings from an alien culture. 

(v) The reference to the suta and the magadka'^ 

among the establishment of the royal 

^ Mdnitidupdrppdn maraivaU kdtllta tlvalani ceyvatu^ canto i, 11. S^”3* 

® C.H.Ly Vol. I, p. 233. ^ Talk., ‘Porul’, stitra 92. 

^ Pur am., st. 6 and 12. ^ See also third Ten. 

® Canto V, 1. 48. For similar references see the Madttraikkdnji, a composi- 
tion of Mangudi Marudanar whose contemporaneity with Talaiyalanganattup- 
pandyan is unmistakable. See Puram,, st. 72. 


66 Introduction 

household may point to the introduction of 
another Aryan institution. 

(vi) The epic mentions deities like isiva, Baladeva, 
Subrahmanya, Vdsnu and Indra, and their 
worship, in more than one place. ^ 

To conclude, the dissemination of Aryan culture was 
largely brought about by that class of wandering mendi- 
cant whose business was to spread the light of know- 
ledge from one part of the country to another. The 
exposition of the Purana is spoken of as iiravoruraikkiiin- 
seyal” and it was expounded by ascetics who made the out- 
skirts of the city their residence. 

P'rom the foregoing discussion it can be noted that 
there is nothing in the .'^ilappadikdraui which would mark 
it off from the cultural point of view as a poem belonging 
to an age different from that of the Purandnurii , Ahatul- 
nuru, Ethdtogai, Pathippditu or even the Tolkdppiyaui . 
If detailed references are lacking in these works it is due to 
the difference in the themes of each respective composi- 
tion. If the Purandnuru and Ahandnilru do not furnish 
us with religious data, it is because they were sung to earn 
the patronage of chieftains by eulogizing, sometimes 
unduly, their achievements. There is however the 
Paripadal, where a poet like Nallanduvanar shows himself 
versed in Vedic and Puranic lore.'" 


Pango was the younger son of king Ceralatan, and his 
elder brother was the Cera king iaenguttuvan celebrated 
in the Silappadihdram . I'he wortl Ijango means the 
younger prince, and perhaps it was more a title than a 
proper name. But what his real name was w'c cannot say 
with any certainty. This young prince, who belonged 

^ t'antos V, lx and xiv- ^ Cantu v, 11. 179-81. 

E.g,, the opening linch of poem 8; cf. also poem 3. 



to a distinguished family connected by marriage alliances 
with the other ruling dynasties of South India and 
who was blessed with fortune and wealth, was destined 
to give, up the pleasures of royalty and to take to a 
life of renunciation and self-sacrifice. This came to pass 
as follows. 

One day, when the king Ceralatan was sitting in the 
audience hall, there came to the court an astrologer who 
predicted the immediate death of the reigning monarch 
and the passing of the throne to his younger son. It 
was an age of faith in astrology. The prediction was 
a rude shock to :Senguttuvan, the elder son of the king 
and the heir-apparent to the throne. Ilango noticed this, 
and in order that his brother might enjoy the honour 
attached to the throne, became a monk so that he could 
not be king.^ The assumption of holy orders was 
to assure his brother that he would not stand in the 
way of his hopes and aspirations. As a monk should, 
he left the palace for the kottam (usually situated in 
a suburb) ; and his residence came to be called Kunavayir- 
kottam . ^ 


Ilango led a secluded life, but a few scholars visited 
him now and then. His friend and companion was 
Ktilavanikan jSittalai Sattanar, the celebrated ^angam poet 
and the great author of the Manimekalai, another epic of 
no mean repute to which references have already been 
made. From the Padirruppattu and other Sangam works 
like the Purandnuru and Ahandnuru anthologies, we gain 
an idea of the contemporary poets and scholars. Paranar 
to whom is attributed the fifth Ten was a contemporary of 

^ Some biographers of A^oka have misunderstood the real significance of 
Indian monastic life, and have wrongly styled him monk-emperor. 

^ Canto XXX, 11 . 174-85. 



Jiango. So also were Kapilar and others. Well qualified 
for the task as a member of an important royal family of 
the Tamil land, Ilango, in his retirement, wrote what may 
be called a contemporary history of the three chief 'I’aniil 
dynasties, and even planned to continue the epic Manhne- 
kalai himself. But having* heard that Sattanar had begun 
and completed the work, he contented himself with the 
composition of the ^ilappadikaraui Like the other poets 
of his age, he did not go from court to court eulogizing 
one chieftain after another. Ilango’s task was to write a 
history, and if we bear in mind the impartiality with which 
he has described the Cola and the Pandy^a chiefs, one has 
to conclude that he has in no way exaggerated the achieve- 
ments of his brother. Thanks, then, to llangd, wc have 
reliable material for reconstructing the Ifistory of the 


We need not enter again into the controversy regard- 
ing the age in which Ijango li\'ed. From what we have 
said of ^Senguttuvan it follows that Ijango also must be 
assigned to the latter half of the second century a.d. But 
far more important is the question of his religious faith. 
The term KunavayirkoUam is interprete<l by Adiy''ark- 
kunallar as Aruhankdil, the name generally given to the 
Jaina temples. From this and from the term Acligal 
being u.sed as a suffix to his name, the late Mr. Kanaka- 
sabhai opined that llangd was a monk of the Nirgrantha 
sect of the Jains." 

But this question is largely interwoven with the faith 
adopted and adhered to by his brother .^enguttuvan. 
Adigal is a term of respect, and is in use even today among 
saints, seers and holy' men to whatever faith they may 

^ vSec the padtkafu to the ^^ihtpptuifkrtmm , 

** See Y. Kanakasabhai, The Tamils uSoo Yeats /IgOy p. 20S. 



belong. Again, the term holtam is a general name for 
temple, and cannot be said to denote particularly a Jaina 

While we are examining this question it is necessary to 
call in the testimony of another datum that goes to establish 
his religion beyond doubt. This is the fact of Ilango’s at- 
tending the Vedic sacrifice elaborately performed by his 
brother after his return from his northern expedition. A 
follower of the Jaina cult, with his watchword of ahhnsd, 
could not be expected to attend a function like the Vedic 
sacrifice. This, together with his presence on the occa- 
sion of the founding of the Pattini cult, conclusively 
shows that Ilango was a follower of the orthodox religion 
like his brother ^enguttuvan. We have already seen that 
^enguttuvan was a follower of orthodox Hinduism. In 
fact, his very birth was due to special prayers offered to 
^iva.^ But his was not the Saivism of the rabid type. 
He worshipped Visnu also. To him there was no differ- 
ence between Siva and Visnu. Senguttu van’s religion 
was what is known in the Sanskrit texts as the sandtana- 
dharma. He was a tolerant Hindu monarch. He was 
the originator of the cult of the Pattini, to which Ilango 
not only assented, but heartily co-operated in its accom- 
plishment. One cannot make out any difference in his 
description between one particular sect and another. It is 
the view of the learned editor Dr. V. Swaminatha Aiyar 
that Saivism was the religion of Ilango.® While agree- 
ing in the main with this view, we may respectfully 
point out that at the time of which we are speaking, 
there were no cut and dried sects like Saivism and 
Vaisnavism. It would be therefore more appropriate 
to say that he was a follower of the established faith 
of the land, which we may call Hinduism in its broader 

1 Canto ix, L 9 ff. 

^ Canto xxvi, 11 . 98-9. 

Sila.^ preface, p. 17. 






It is unfortunate that we have not been able to dis- 
cover the name and a^e of the distinguished commentator 
of the Silappadikaram, well known as Arumpadavuraiya- 
siriyar. Though no clue is forthcoming for the identifica- 
tion of this commentator, this much is certain that his 
literary attainments were of a high order, and that his 
special knowledge of musical treatises was undoubted. 
This commentary Arumpadavurai is the older of the two 
extant commentaries, the other being that of Adiyark- 
kunallar. The excellence of the commentary is due to the 
fact that it explains fully the technical terms and phrases 
in the text, and interprets them in the lig'ht of their actual 
use in the ^angarn epoch. Though only words and 
phrases which require interpretation are pressed into 
service, the commentary is complete, and throws welcome 
light on the portion of the text to which the comments of 
Adiyarkkunallar are not available. In this way the com- 
mentary is useful and also valuable. 

That Adiyarkkunallar was indebted to this Arumpada- 
vurai is obvious from his own commentary, where in one 
place^ he explicitly acknowledges the sources from which 
he has taken his material. Adiyarkkunallar quotes him 
once by the name Arumpadavuraiyasiriyar. A study of 
the two extant commentaries shows how Adiyarkkunallar 
has simply followed him in many places, especially in 
the cantos which deal with the theory and practice of 
music. The greatness of the commentary lies in the fact 
that it furnishes rare and detailed notes on music and 
dancing. It is no exaggeration at all to say that without 
them nothing can be made out of the text. For, even 
with the two commentaries before us, it is difficult to get 

Canto V, IL 157-60, commentary. 



at the true interpretation of these technical terms relating 
to the art of music. Arumpadavuraiyasiriyar’s religion was, 
so far as can be gathered from the commentary, the esta- 
blished religion of the land, i.e. Hinduism. From the fact 
that he quotes the extant astrological work Jinendramalai 
in connexion with arudams^ it may be said that he lived 
after the author of the Jinendramalai. But when the 
latter flourished is itself doubtful. 



The other commentator is Adiyarkkunallar , who is 
supposed to have lived, not without reason, in the fifteenth 
century a.d. As we have already said, he mentions 
Arumpadavuraiyasiriyar in one place and he has followed 
him in the main, sometimes adopting his very phrases and 
sentences. His is a commentary where due acknowledge- 
ment is made of the authorities from which he has taken 
his material. That he was a critical scholar and a re- 
searcher is seen from the portion of his commentary where 
he interprets the religion of the different characters in the 
epic, as also from his endeavour to fix the chronological 
limits of the exact day and time of Kovalan’s starting for 
Madura, etc. In pressing into service the astronomical 
data, though not in a way warranted by the original, the 
commentator shows himself an able astronomer and, we 
may add, an astrologer too. That he was an accomplished 
scholar and had made a special study of the musical 
treatises is evident from the names of the originals which 
occur in the commentary. The books quoted from are 
Indirahdliyam, Pancamarapu, Baratasendpatiyam, and 
Mativanar-ndtahattamilmil. It appears that these treatises, 
which were available to the commentator in his time. 

^ Canto xvit, p. 443. 



have been lost in the course of the last five centuries. 
The commentator is very meticulous about alien words, 
words in use in the Malainadu and the use of extinct pro- 
verbs. Such terms and expressions are interpreted with 
the care and the caution which they deserve. He also 
quotes an author Kaviccakkaravirutti.' This may be a 
reference to Jayamkondan, the author of the Kalingattu- 
parani, or Otta-Kuttar, the author of a parani on Vikrama- 
cola as testified to us by the commentator on the Takhaya- 


But it is unfortunate that the whole of the commentary 
is not available. It is not available in respect of the cantos 
entitled 'Kanalvari’, ‘Valakkuraikadai’ , ‘Vanjinamalai’ , 
‘Alarpatukadai’ and ‘Katturaikadai’ , and the whole of 
' V ahjikkandam’ ." 

Two explanations can be offered. One is that he did 
not write a commentary on these cantos and the other is 
that these portions have been lost. The latter theory 
seems more plausible in view of the internal evidence 
which can be gathered from the commentary. The fol- 
lowing may be adduced 

(1) In his gloss on the term van in ‘Arangerru- 
kadai', he says more details are furnished in Kanalvari’ 

(2) Again, in the same kadai, in his gloss on the 
yal (1. 26) he says that an elaborate examination of it is 
made in ‘Kanalvari’.''’ 

(3) In commenting on lines 27-8 of ‘Venir- 
kadai’ he remarks that he has spoken of it before under 
dm etc. This dni is in the original text of ‘Kanalvari’, 
I- 3- 

^ Canto V, 11 . 76-8S, commentary. 

SiU., preface, p. 20 , * ibid., p. 88. 

^ Cantos xxiv-xxx. 
^ ibid., p. 100. 



(4) Again, in commenting on lines 106-7 o£ ‘Aran- 
gerrukadai’ , the remark is made that it would be examined 
in extenso in ‘Alarpatukadai’/ 

(5) Further, in his comment on lines 45-71 of 
‘Venirkadai' he refers to the fact that additional details are 
given in ‘Katturaikadai’ , and a reference may be made to 

It is thus established that Adiyarkkunallar certainly 
wrote his commentary on all the kadais, and that the work 
as a complete one is now lost to us. Though we have 
no internal evidence to substantiate the theory that he 
also wrote a commentary on ‘ Vahjikkandam’ , yet in the 
light of his remarks quoted above, and in view of the fact 
that some portions of the commentary which according to 
him were actually written were lost, it is reasonable to 
assume that the commentator wrote a full commentary 
which is not traceable now. It may be that one day we 
shall find it in some private library in an out-of-the-way 


Though there are no definite data regarding the religion 
of the commentator, the assumption may be made that 
he was a ^aiva by faith. His leanings towards Jainism can 
be proved by his interpretation of the common terms as 
referring to the Jaina in many a place. To quote one 
example, he makes the kottam in the Kunavayirkottam 
Aruhankoil, which has afforded some foundation for the 
theory that Ilango-Adigaj, who made it his residence, must 
have been a Jain. 


In examining the value of these annotations as sources of 
information of the early history of the ancient Tamil king- 
doms, the late P. T. Srinivasa Iyengar was not prepared 

^ p. ii6 p. 237 



to attach any importance to them.^ But this view of 
the learned author cannot stand. It may be true to some 
extent that the commentary is coloured by personal views, 
but generally the annotator aims at giving the interpreta- 
tion handed down by an unbroken tradition, without the 
help of which no intelligible meaning* could be attached to 
several underlying allusions or references. If this inter- 
pretation can be corroborated by an independent source 
or sources, it compels our acceptance and approval.^ 

Examining the work in this light, and remembering 
the paucity of the materials for reconstructing the history 
of early South India, we must ever be grateful to these 
annotators, whose authority cannot be questioned inasmuch 
as their works are quoted by the still more celebrated 
later annotators. Dr. V. Swaminatha Aiyar is inclined to 
the view that Naccinarkkiniyar was one such annotator 
who quotes Adiyarkkunallar.''’ If this is so, it speaks well 
of the authority, value and standing of our commentator 
on the epic. 

^ History of the Tamils^ pp. 371-2. 

® See S. K. Aiyangar, Evolution of Hindu Administrative Institutions in 
South India, p. 14- 

^ For example cf. the lines i£<s»p GP<'»rAj«i;c 3 r dScsrarr . . . Qur of 
vnvari* with 11. 40-2 of Maduraihhdhjiy commentary. 



The hill-Kuravas came in a group before Kudakkoc- i-9 
Ceral Ilango^ who had renounced his royalty and was 
permanently residing in the hermitage of KunavayiP and 
said : ‘A chaste lady who had lost a breast came to the 
shade of the vengai tree, rich in its golden flowers ; there 
the King of the Dev as appeared, to show her her loving 
husband, and took her to Heaven before our very eyes. 

This was verily a wonder. Be gracious to know this T 

At that time, the great Tamil poet Sattan,^ who was 10—36 
by his side, exclaimed, T know how this happened', and 
began to narrate the details. Tn the ancient city of un- 
dying fame, Puhar, belonging to the C 5 la wearing the dtti 
garland,^ there was a merchant, named Kovalan.^ He 
lost his great wealth by dalliance with a dancing-girl who 
was expert in her art. His wife was Kannaki. With the 
intention of selling her tinkling anklet, he went with her 
to the great Pandyan city of Madura, highly renowned 
in literature. When he was taking it for sale in the great 
bazaar, he happened to show it to a goldsmith who said 
that it was fit to be worn only by the queen and not by 
any one else. Asking Kdvalan to stay there, the gold- 
smith went to, and told, the king that he saw the queen's 
anklet (which the goldsmith himself had previously stolen) 
in the hands of the thief. Since that was the moment 
when Kovalan's destiny was being fulfilled, the king who 

^ The younger brother of Senguttuvan. 

® The term in the text ii> Kunavayirkotlam. Atliyarkkunallar describes 
kot^am as a Jaina temple. But this does not seem to be correct. The teim 
kotiam (Sans., koitha) means any building sacred to any divinity and not 
particularly to Aruhan, the Jaina deity, Kunavayil (literally, east gate), was 
the name of the suburb to the east of Vanji. 

^ The Sangam poet and author of the Mantmekalai. 

■* Atti — bauhiuta racemosa. The Tamil kings were distinguished by the 
garlands they wore. The Cola king had the dtti, the Panclya and the Cera 
kings used the margosa and the palmyra respectively 

* Sans., Gopala. 

78 The Silappadikaram 

wore the gar, land of margosa blossoms did not inquire 
into the matter fully, but ordered his tried watchmen to 
kill the thief and fetch the anklet. The wife of the 
murdered Kovalan having no refuge, shed tears copiously ; 
and because she was so very virtuous, the Pandya suffered 
great distress when she plucked out one of her breasts, 
on which lay a string of pearls, and thereby burnt the 
great city of Madura. That lady of chastity of high repute 
is this one (referred to by the Kuravas).’ 

37-62 Hearing this, Ilango asked : ‘You said that destiny 
was fulfilled.^ How was that?’ 

In reply, isattan said, ‘Holy man, listen ! I lay down 
at midnight in the Veljiyambalam^ of the Manrappodiyil, 
sacred to Lord Siva who wears the konrai flower on 
His tuft, in the hoary city of Madura of untainted fame. 
I saw the tutelary deity of Madura appearing before the 
heroic Pattini who was in deep distress and saying: “O 
lady, who raised furious flames from your breast ! Now 
it is that the action of your previous birth has become 
completed. In your previous birth, the wife of the mer- 
chant Sangaman of Singapuram^ of undying fame laid a 
curse upon your husband and yourself. O lady of 
the beautiful tresses of hair ! You will see your husband 
(again) fourteen days from now, not in his human form, but 
in the divine.” This guileless account did I hear. So 
we shall write a poem, with songs, illustrating the three 
truths that dharma will become the God of Death to 
kings who swerve from the path of righteousness, that it 

^ This is the central theme underlying the whole epic. The story seems 
to elucidate the fundamental belief of Hinduism and its dissenting sects, like 
Buddhism and Jainism, that a man’s fortune or misfortune in this birth is 
the I'esult of his actions, good or bad, in past birth or births, 

^ VeHiyambalam (literally, silver hall) is an open space for the use of the 
public. Note there are Ponnambalain, Maniyambalam, etc., referring to parti- 
cular shrines. The term Manrappodiyil shows that the village assembly 
usually met in the temple compound, where it is natural to suppose that 
large and shady trees were planted and allowed to grow. 

® Singapuram is one of the capitals of ancient Kalinga. 



is natural for great men to adore a chaste lady of great 
fame, and that destiny will manifest itself and be fulfilled ; 
and as these truths centre round an anklet of artistic 
beauty, the poem (patticdaicceyyid) can be named Silap- 
padikdram. As this story relates to all the three crowned 
monarchs, it is only proper, O venerable saint, that you 
should write it.’ 

In response to this request of Rattan, the saint of 63-85 
extraordinary repute (Ilango) composed a poem, consist- 
ing of thirty parts, which were the following : The song 
of benediction ; the story about the parents establishing 
the hero as a householder ; the story of the dancing-girl 
Madavi receiving royal recognition for her skill on the 
stage ; the chapter in praise of the twilight ; the canto nar- 
rating the celebration of Indra’s festival in the city ; the 
canto describing the sports on the seashore ; the section des- 
cribing the kdmlvari and Madavi’s sorrow at the heat caus- 
ed by the blazing sun ; the canto dealing with the sight of 
the city (Madura) and that of the forest ; the canto dealing 
with the song of the hunters and the sojourn of Kovalan 
with his spouse outside the city ; the section dealing with 
the visit to the city ; the section describing the shelter found 
for the fair lady Kannaki ; the account of the murder of 
Kovalan ; the canto in which the dance of the cowherdesses 
is described ; that dealing with the distress of the people who 
heard the news of the burning of the city ; the song (kadai) 
dealing with the entry into the city which was in utter tur- 
moil ; the canto describing the manner in which Kannaki 
presented her case before the king ; the vow, the story of 
the great conflagration, the facts revealed by the tutelary 
deity of Madura to Kannaki ; the dance of the hill-damsels 
wearing fragrant flowers ; the story of the seeing, taking 
and bathing of the slab of stone in the holy Ganges, 
and the planting of the image ; the story of the praise 
offered to, and the boon obtained from, the Goddess 
of Chastity. 

So The Silappadikaram 

86-90 These stones which are narrated in poetic form 
{uraiyidaiyitta pdttudaicceyyul) by Ilangd'Adigal were 
heard by KCilavanikaii^ Sattan of Madura. This is the 
account of the origin of the poem which elaborates the 
trivarga (pdlvahai)." 

^ This indicates that Saltan belonged to the community ol corn-chandlers. 
The term vdntya as from the Sanskrit vanik, a merchant. Though a common 
name etymologically for all merchants, it is used in practice only in connexion 
with oil-pres&ers. Amongst the other vantyas there were ilaivantyai, or betel- 
sellers and numerous other br.uiche.s. Kidaixiniyas aie sai<l to have dealt 
in grain. 

^ The irtvarga are dharma (Tam., aram), artha (Tam., pond) and kdnia 
(Tam., inbarn). The expression shows the naturalization of the idea of puru- 
sdrthas in the Tamil land. 


1 . From that day forth the Pandyan kingdom was 
deprived of rains, and famine-stricken. This was followed 
by fever and plague. Verriverceliyan^ reigning at KorkaP 
propitiated the Lady of Chastity by sacrificing a thousand 
goldsmiths, and celebrated a festival when there was a 
downpour causing fertility to the land. Thereupon the 
kingdom was rid of disease and distress. 

2. Hearing this, the Ilam-Kosar"^ of the Konguna<^u® 
instituted festivities in honour of the Lady of Chastity in 
their land, and this resulted in plentiful rains. 

3. On hearing this, Gajabahu“ of Ceylon encircled 
by the sea, built a shrine for the Lady of Chastity where 
daily sacrifices were performed. Thinking that she would 
remove the distress (of his land), he also instituted annual 
festivals commencing with the month of A^i ; then the 
rains came to stay, and increased the fertility of the land 
so as to produce unfailing crops. 

4. At this the Cola king Perumkilli^ built at Uraiyur 
a shrine for Pattinikka^avul, and instituted daily offerings, 
thinking that she would shower her blessings at all times. 

^ This was added to the padikafn by an early editor whose identity is 
not known. 

® The successor of Neduhjeliyan. 

® Quondam capital of the Pandyan kingdom. It was the same as Kava- 
tapuram (seaport capital) referred to in the Kautallya Arthasdstra and the 

* The smaller chieftains of Tamilnadu. Their services were requisitioned 
by great kings like the Pandyan. (See Maduraikkdnji, 11 . 773-4.) 

® This is to be identified as the western part of the Kongu region : Tulu- 
nddu, Coorg and parts of Mysore. This may be called Ko^arnadu. 

® The Cera King Senguttuvan’s contemporary in Ceylon. 

^ The contemporary Coja king. 


Canto I 




Praised be the Moon Praised be the Moon, for, like 1-12 
the cool white umbrella of the king who wears the pollen- 
spreading garland, He blesses our beautiful world. 

Praised be the Sun ! Praised be the Sun, for, like the 
commands of the Lord of the Kaverinadu, He revolves 
round the golden-peaked Meru. 

Praised be the mighty Clouds ! Praised be the mighty 
Clouds, for, like him whose land the frightful sea surrounds, 
they stand on high, and pour their gifts to men below. 

Praised be sweet Puhar P Praised be sweet Puhar, 
for it is as famous as the glory of the (Cola) royal line all 
over the wide world, encircled by the waters of the sea. 

Those who have fully heard and known all that is to be 13—19 
heard and known,® hold the view that, like the Podiyil hilP 
and the Himalayan range, the unique city of Puhar, 

^ For a similar invocation of the deities see Takkaydgapparaf^i, ‘Kadavul’, 

St. 9, €omm. It may be noted that the first deity invoked is the Moon, thus 
bearing testimony to the prevalence of the moon cult in ancient Tamil India. 

® Puhar, Kakandi, Kavirippumpattinam, and Pattinam, are other names 
for Kaverippattinam, the ancient capital city of the Colas on the seashore. 

According to some, it is the Khaberis Emporium mentioned by Ftolemy in the 
first century a.d. The inscriptions secured from the modern Kaverippattinam 
and its vicinity leave no doubt as to its identity with Kavirippumpattinam alias 
Puhar. {An, Rep. Ep.y 1919, p. 92.) 

^ The term kejvi in L19 may also be interpreted as the Sruti or the Vedic 
lore. It occurs in the sense of the Vedas in Padirr., third Ten, st. i, l.i, 

■* The Podiyil hill is noted as the residence of the sage Agastya {Bhdga. 

Ptir.y Bk. X, ch. 79, st. 16-17). This hill of the Pandyas can be identified with 
the Malaya, otherwise known as Chandanadri or Candanacala. Perhaps the 
epithet Malayadhvaja attributed to the Pandyan king in the Mhh., Bk. Ill, 
ch. 281, st. 44f, (cf. Raghiiy canto iv, st, 46-9) is after the hill Malaya. The 
Tamil name Fodigai is the original of the Bettigo of Ptolemy (J. W. MacCrindle, 

Btolemyy 1885, p. 78). 

88 The Silappadikaram [1. 20 

renowned for its generations of unexcelled ancient families, 
stands immutable as the great ones who live there. 

20-29 In that city of Puhar which equalled Heaven in its fame 
and the Serpent World‘ in its enjoyments, there lived a 
celebrated sea-captain (mdndikan) liberal in his gifts like 
the rain-bearing clouds. He had a daughter, Kannaki,® 
who was like a golden creeper and was^ nearing twelve 
years old. She had high qualities on account of which 
women adored and praised her, exclaiming, ‘She is 
Laksmi® of praiseworthy form, seated on the lotus, and 
her excellence is that of the faultless northern star (Arun- 

30~39 In that selfsame city lived an inland merchant prince 
{mdsdttuvdn) of abounding wealth, who, along with his 
relations, was placed in the foremost rank of the aristocracy 

^ Nagana(Ju ; also Pavanam. According to the Jaina scriptures the joys in 
the Nagaloka are greater than those in heaven or Svargaloka ; cf. Mhh.^ 
‘Adi’, ch. 234. 

® The terms mdnaikan (Sans., mahd 7 idyaka=gi'ei\t leader) and ^iididttuvdn 
(Sans., mahoMrtha) connote respectively ‘members of maritime commercial 
ventures’ and ‘members of caravan trade’: see canto ii, 11 . 7-8; also Studies 
in Tamil Literature and History, p. 77, n. 2. 

^ It is to be noted here that the heroine of the story has been mentioned 
first and then the hero. This is because the story from start to finish centres 
round the heroine. Or it may point to a custom in ancient India of speaking 
first of the wife and then of the husband in referring to a married couple 
(vadhuvara), e.g. Sitarfima, Parvati Paramesvara. 

* The term ahavaiydl means that she was not yet twelve years old. 

® Consort of Visnu and Goddess of Wealth. 

6 Arundati is the wife of the sage Vasistha, one of the seven celebrated 
sages who went by the name of Saptar.sis. She was distinguished for her 

Chaste women are generally compared to Arundati (see Padirr., fourth 
Ten. st. I, 1 . 28). The Bodhayana Grhyasutra rules that a married couple 
should see the star Arundati and the Pole Star on the first day of their 
marriage (Govt. Oriental Series, Mysore, 1904, p. 124). Legend has it that 
each of the seven primeval sages had his own wife. Of these, the wives of 
six sages excluding that of Vasistha fell in love with Agni and gave their 
breast-milk to Subrahmanya. These six became Krttika Naksatras which 
are six in number (the Pleiades) ; but Arundati stood firm in her chastity and 
attained an honouraible place as an auspicious star fit to be seen by chaste and 
pure women so that they might ever lead holy lives. (Mhh., ‘Vana Parva’, 
ch. 226-30. Also S, Sorenson’s Index, p. 91.) 

I. 40] Mangalavalttuppadal 89 

by the monarch of that great kingdom. He was, in sooth, 
the lord of a rich treasure^ and gave away his earnings to 
others in need. He had a son, named KSvalan,^ nearing 
sixteen years. Kovalan’s expanding fame made the earth 
all too small to bear it. Moon-faced maidens, skilled in 
song and sweet in voice, fondly said to each other, ‘O, 

He is Subrahmanya incarnate !’^ and revealed their exces- 
sive love for him when they spoke in praise of him in their 
own gatherings. 

Them, (Kannaki and Kovalan), their worthy parents 40-44 
longed to see, on a happy day, as a bridal pair. Happy 
in such thoughts, they sent forth fair maidens, seated on 
an elephant’s neck, to invite to the wedding all those who 
lived in that great city. 

As they went forth into the streets, drums were beaten : 45-53 
mrdangams were sounded : conches were blown : and 
white umbrellas were lifted high as if in kingly procession. 

O, how enchanting was their entry into the pavilion, glim- 
mering with pearls beneath the canopy of blue silk and 
with dazzling pillars, decked with diamonds and beautified 
by overhanging garlands ! That was the day on which 
the Moon moving in the sky approached the star RohinI f 

^ It may be interpreted as twofold treasure and the comparison may 
be to Kubera, the Lord of Divine Treasure, Sankha and Padma. 

® Note here also the term ahavaiymj. 

^ He is the War-God in whose honour Kalidasa wrote his classic 

Kumdrasambhava. He is a very popular deity in Tamil India (see T. A. 

Gopinatha Rao, Elements of Hindu Iconografhy, Vol. II, p. 415). According 
to Tolk., he is the tutelary deity of the hillmen (kurinjimlam) {Aham., sutra 5). 
Among the Sangam works the Tirumurugdrruppadai and one- fourth of the 
Paripddal are sung in glorification of Kumara. Incidentally it may be noticed 

that the arguments in favour of a later date for the Paripddal (seventh century 

A.D.), on the basis of astronomical data, put forward by the late Swamikannu 
Pillai (see Indian Ephemeris, Vol, I, Pt. II, Appendix III ; ‘The Chronology 
of Early Tamil Literature’, and further examined by K. G. Sankara in 
J.R.A.S., 1932, pp, 541-5), are not tenable in the light of other and more 
positive data. 

* Cf. Aham.y st. 136. That Rohini is an auspicious planet is attested to by 
Vedic authority (Vedic Index, Vol. I, p. 415), not to speak of the later 
Brhat-'J dtaka and similar literature. Rohini, moreover, was the favourite of 
^he twenty-seven wives of the Moon, 

90 The Silappadikaram [I. 54 

when KSvalan who walked around the holy fire/ in 
accordance with scriptural injunctions as directed by the 
revered priest, approached his bride, divinely fair, resem- 
bling- the star Arundati. How fortunate were those who 
54-68 enjoyed such a splendid sight ! Lovely maidens, bringing 
spices and flowers, spake and sang-, and looked bewitch- 
ing. Women with full breasts and glowing tresses took 
with them sandal-paste, frankincense, perfumes and 
powders. Ladies with lovely teeth bore lamps, vessels, 
and pdlikai pots^ of tender shoots. These maidens, who 
looked like golden creepers and whose hair was decked 
with flowers, showered blossoms on the bridal pair, 
saying : ‘May you live a flawless life, with a love that 
knows no separation, and held in close and unrelaxing 
embrace!’ They then led Kannaki, the Arundati of 
this vast world, to the auspicious nuptial bed with the 
prayer that the royal tiger -emblem , engraved on this 
side of the Himalayas, might remain for ever on the 
golden crest of that mountain,''’ and that the Cola king 

^ The fire-rite was already in vogue in the Tamil land for purposes of 
marriage. It seems to have been a regular institution ever since the age 
of Tolk. Arundati (Sans., Arundhati) is the star Alcor in the Great Bear. She 
was the daughter of Kai^yapa, sister of Narada, and wife of Vasi.stha. As 
the model of conjugal felicity she figures in the Saslraic literatiue. The 
reference indicates the adoption by the Tamil Vai^yas of the Aryan marital 
custom and procedure. It is worth noting that Kannaki was barely twelve 
at the time of her marriage. 

^ Pdlikai pots are the chief feature of marriage and other samskdras 
among the Hindus even today. The Bddhdyana Grhyasutra mentions five 
pdlikais for purposes of marriage. The technical term ankurdrpana (p. 328 
of the Mysore edition), probably suggests that the married couple should he 
blessed with good and healthy progeny. 

® The reference here is to Karikala’s engraving the tiger crest on the 
Himalayas. For a learned study on the life and achievements of Karikala 
see Oolaganatham Pillai, Karikdlaccdlan^ in Tamil. If we compare these 
lines with canto v, 11. 90-104, there is the implication that Karikfila was not 
satisfied with being the overlord of all India and his ambition was to cross 
the snow-clad hills and to extend his conquests to Tibet, China, etc. (Note 
the terms ifpdl and uppdL) But the Himalayas were a stumbling block ; 
he could not proceed further and had to return. Pandit M. Raghava Aiyangar 
is of opinion that the Cola king’s route lay through the passes between 
(Sikkim and Bhutan, leading to the Chambi Valley in Tibet, This is attested 

I. 68] Mangalavalttuppadal 91 

(Sembiyan)^ who possessed the fierce javelin in battle, 
might throw his matchless discus^ all over the world. 

to by the fact that even today one of the passes there, and the mountain 
range as well, go by the name of the Cola Pass and the Cola Range. (Imperial 
Gazetteer of India^ ‘Sikkim’, Vol. X, p. Vol. XXII, p. 365. Encyclopcedia 

Britannica, Vol. V, p. 667, s. v. Sikkim, Vol. XX, p. 640 ) KalaimagaJ 
(Madras), Vol. I, p. 56 ff. 

^ Sembiyan is an epithet for the Cola king. The tradition transmitted in 
Tamil literature bears evidence to the fact that one of the great ancestors of 
the Colas was Sibicakravarti, and as -coming from his family, the Colas 
claimed the title Sembij^an. If this tradition has any value at all, it demon- 
strates that the Cola dynasty is only a branch jf a North Indian dynasty or 
which Sibi was an honoured member. But there are scholars who look upon 
this dynasty as indigenous to South India. 

® An emblem of universal sovereignty. 

Canto II 




i-ii The untold wealth of the seafaring merchants of the rich 
city (Puhar) made even far-famed monarchs covet it. 
The varieties of foreign merchandise, rare commodities 
brought to the city by ships and caravans, were so vast 
that, even if the whole world, encircled by the roaring seas, 
flocked into it, its wealth would not become diminished. 
In the delights which it yielded, and in the presence of 
noble persons, (the parents of) Kannaki the lotus-eyed and 
her loving husband Kovalan, who were nobly born and 
blessed with inexhaustible ancestral wealth, the city 
resembled Uttarakuru,^ the residence of great penance- 

12-25 In the middle story of their lofty mansion, they 
(Kovalan and Kannaki) seated themselves on a gem^ 
legged couch which looked as if it had been made for 
them by Maya.^ As they were enjoying themselves, the 
soft south wind entered, at the proper time with the bees, 
through the lattice windows ornamented with a series of 
jewelled hangings, bringing the sweet fragrance of the 
cool dmhal, the close-petalled kuvalai, the half-opened 
lotus filled with humming drones, and several other flowers 

^ The XJttarakuru {Vedic Index, p. 84) is perhaps the semi-mythical region 
of enjoyment and bliss Six such places are distinguished also in the Jaina 
literature. See Divdkaram, st. 12. For a similar description of the Uttarakuru, 
see Mhh,, ‘Sabha Parva’, ch 29, st. 66-71. The Aitareya Brdhamana locates it 
as a trans-Himalayan country (ch. 8, st. 14). According to Pliny, Bk, VI., 
c. 17, Amometus wrote a book on the Attacorae (Uttarakuru)). See J. W. 
MacCrindle, ]\Iegasthenes and Arrian, 1926, pp. 76-9. 

^ Though Adiyarkkunallar interprets the term Mayan as the Carpenter 
of the Gods, Sanskrit tradition has it that Vij^vakarma was the architect of 
the Gods, and Maya was the architect of the Asuras, 

11. 26] Manaiyarampatuttakadai 

which blossomed in fields and on the surface of small pools, 
to wit, the pleasing tdlai and the white wide-mouthed 
kodai, and blew over them. Along with it came the 
drones which had partaken of the tiny particles of madavi 
from the arbour of the campaka, and which were in eager 
search for the sweet-smelling tresses of the charming 
damsel with her beaming face. 

(Bathed in such a breeze), the couple passed out into 26-37 
the open terrace where, under the cool rays of the moon, 
the God of Love sat holding his arrow of flowers. There 
they laid themselves down in a bed covered with pollen 
attracting humming bees. Kovalan amused himself by 
painting, on the broad shoulders of his lady-love, the 
sugar-cane^ and the valU,^ when they looked like the sun 
and the moon shedding their lustre upon the whole sea- 
girt world. He wore a garland of jasmine whose spark- 
ling white petals had been opened by the honey-seeking 
bee. Hers was a garland of the charming close-petalled 
kalunir. With their wreaths intertwined owing to their 
close embrace, both of unsatiated love grew wearied when 
Kovalan looked into the beaming face of Kannaki, and 
spoke to her in words of prattling endearment : 

‘My dear, though Siva has adorned his tuft of hair by 3^-45 
placing the beautiful crescent moon“ in it so that the gods 
may praise him. He will yet give it away to you so as 
to make it your forehead : for, was not the moon born 
along with you?"^ 

^ The bow of the God of Love is said to be of sugar-cane. 

^ Vain is evidently the heavenly creeper known as kamavalli. Cf. 
Jtvakaciulamani, st. 365, where the kamavalli is compared to a lovely lady. 

® This is apparently a reference to the astamicandra, i.e. the crescent of 
the eighth lunar day, which is generally compared to the forehead of beautiful 
ladies. Among the Sahasranama of the Devi, one is aslamlcandrahibhraja 

* The reference is to the legend of the churning of the ocean by the 
Devas and the Asuras for nectar which the former drank and became immortal. 
With the nectar came also the Moon and the Goddess of Wealth. To 
Kovalan, Kannaki is none else than this LaksmL See Mhh, ‘Adt', ch. 17-19 
for a fuller description ; also S. Sorenson’s Index, pp. 34-5. 

94 The Silappadikaram [II. 46 

‘Likewise the bodyless God of Love will be happy to 
give you his big sugar-cane bow, so that it may become 
your dark eyebrows ; for, is it not a law of warfare that 
the vanquished foe should yield up his weapons? 

46-52 ‘Indra too is bound to give you his thunderbolt* which 
protects the Devas, saying that it will fittingly become 
your waist, for, were you not born long before ambrosia? 

‘Though the six-faced one (Subrahmanya) has no cause 
for doing it, still He has given you his long lance, red as 
fire, so as to form your two dark, cloudlike, red-cornered 
eyes ; he naturally wishes to see me in distress ! 

53-61 ‘By your complexion you have put to shame the gem- 
tinted peacock with its beautiful black plumes, which hides 
itself in the woods. O lady of the shining face ! By your 
soft and lovely gait you have put to shame the swan which 
hides itself amidst the lotuses of the cool tank. The little 
green parrots are ashamed of themselves when they listen 
to your charming voice which assumes the character of 
the flute, vlndj and ambrosia : yet, O lady of stately 
gait, they love to stay for ever on your flower-like 

62-72 ‘O lady with charming tresses fragrant with flowers ! 
Of what use to you are dressing maids and ornaments 
other than your flawless tdK?‘ Again, beyond a few 
flowers to be worn on your black hair, what need is there 

^ Like nectar, Indra’s Vajra or thunderbolt is said to have sprung from 
out of the churning ocean. It is a two-headed trident with a slender handle 
in the middle, which is compared here to the lady’s waist. According to the 
Sanskrit tradition, it was the bone of the sage Dadhici that was transformed 
into the Vajra, the war-implement of Indra. (See Mhb.j ‘Vanaparva’, ch. 99 ; 
‘Salyaparva’, ch. 52.) 

® The commentators seem to interpret the term mangalavanl as natural 
beauty, and this may fit in with the context. The other interpretation of 
mangalavanl is tall or firwndngalyam, the wearing of which on the occasion 
of a marriage seems to have been originally a South Indian custom, later 
adopted by the followers of the Brahmanical religion. Cf. canto iv, L 50. 
See, for instance, the chapter in the Ramdyana describing the marriage of 
Rama and Sita (Bk, I, ch. 73), where there is no mention of mdngalya-sutram. 
The term sutram in the sense of tali occurs in the later Smrtis. 

II. 73 J Maiiaiyarampatuttakadai 95 

for any splendid wreath of flowers.^ Nor does your hair 
require any paste of kasturi. Common frankincense is 
quite sufficient. Likewise with the sandal-paste figures 
painted on your beautiful breasts, there is no need for a 
string of pearls. What folly induced them to deck you 
with so many ornaments causing drops of perspiration on 
your face, and pain to your slender waist ! 

O purest gold ! O conch-white pearl ! 

O faultless fragrance ! O sugar-cane, honey ! 73-83 

Unattainable beauty, life-giving nectar ! 

O noble child of nobly-born merchants ! 

Shall I say that you are an unborn gem of the 
hills ? 

Shall I say that you are nectar not produced 
from the sea? 

Shall I say that you are melody not born of the 

ydl ? 

O my girl of dark and flowing hair !’ 

Uttering ceaselessly such well- worded speeches, the 
ecstatic lover with bright garlands, spent with his fair lady- 
love days and days in deep enjoyment. 

One such day, the venerable lady (mother of KSvalan) 84-90 
established the lady of abundant and flowing tresses 
(Kannaki) in a house of her own, where she provided her 
with faithful servants and wealth of all kinds, so as to 
serve her near and dear ones, ascetics and guests, in a 
manner appropriate to the householder’s life, that thereby 
her fame might increase. 

Some years passed, and Kannaki in the discharge of 
her household duties earned a name worthy to be praised. 

^ The chief dutic\s of the lady of a house were the giving of gifts to the 
deserving, the serving of Brahmans, and the entertaining of ascetics and 
guests, as evidenced by Kannaki ’s own words in canto xvi, 11. 7^”3- This 
is also the prescription of the Dharma^astras or law-codes like that of Manu, 
A student of Tiruvalluvar’s Tirukkural will find elaborate prescriptions for the 
above-mentioned duties of the householder. 


Tile Silappadikaram 


They (Kovalan and Kannaki), who (respectively) 
resembled Kama (God of Love) and Rati (Goddess of 
Love), enjoyed close embraces like smoke-coloured ser- 
pents ; they enjoyed all sorts* of pleasures as if realizing* 
the instability of life on the earth. ^ 

^ The poet here hints at the coming tragedy. 

Canto III 




The great sage (Agastya) of the divine Podiyil hill i— ii 
(once) cursed Indra’s son^ (along with Urvasi)®, and the 
latter obtained redemption by displaying her skill on the 
stage. ^ From that distinguished line of celestial nymphs, 
was descended Madavi, noted for her deeds of great 
distinction, as well as for her broad shoulders and 
beautiful tresses which scattered the pollen of flowers. 

In dance and song, and in grace of form,'‘ she underwent 
training for seven years, succeeding in all three ; 
and at the age of twelve she was in a position to display 
her talents before the reigning king® who wore heroic 

Her dancing master knew the characteristics of the 12-16 
two schools of the dancing art.® He could effectively 

^ Jayanta, the son of Indra, was cursed, together with UrvasI, by the 
sage Agastya for misbehaviour. Jayanta was reborn as a bamboo in the 
Vindhya Hills aiid Urva^I as a dancing*girl on the earth. According to 
the Suddhdnandappirakdsa, a late musical treatise, Urva^i was born first in the 
city of Kanci. 

^ Urvasi (Tam., Uruppali) is a daughter of the Gods (an apsaras). For 
the origin and career of Urvasi see Matsya Purd'tta^ ch. 24, st. 25 ff. Cf. 
Dikshitar, Matsya Purdna — a study, 1935, pp. 42-3* 

® The term used is talaikkoL It might be a staff used by the dancer to 
serve as an equipoise. For details see II. ii4ff. 

* The chief requisites are dancing, singing and natural beauty (alahu). If 
alahu is interpreted as an art, it may mean ‘proper rhythm’. The period of 
training was seven years commencing from the age of five. 

® According to the commentator the king under reference is Karikala. 

But a study of the chronology of the early centuries of the Christian era 
shows that the king referred to must have been a successor to Karikala. 
This has been examined in the Introduction. 

® The two schools are the deii (secular) and mdrga (orthodox), which 
are the two kinds of kuttu. There were a number of kuttus which came 


gS The Silappadikaram [III. 17 

combine the different dancing poses with the vilakku 
song.^ He had a clear knowledge of the established rules 
of the eleven modes of body-movement and limb-move- 
ment (adaT), of the songs {pathi) oi the resounding instru- 
ments (koUu), as also of the dance (aM), of gestures 
(pddal),^ of the measured beats (pdni),^ and of time-beats 

17-25 During the course of the exhibition of the dancing 
art, composed of the foregoing elements, he knew when 
only one hand had to be used for gesticulation (pindi),^ 
and when both the hands had to be used (pinaiyal). He 
also knew when the hands had to be used for exhibiting 
action alone (tolirkai), and when for graceful effect alone 
(elirkai). Knowing as he did the conventions at the 
time of dancing, he avoided the mixing up of the 
single-hand demonstration (kutai) with the double-hand 
demonstration {vdrani) and vice versa, as also the mixing 
up of pure gesture with gesticulatory movement and 
vice versa. In the movements of the feet also, he 
did not mix up the kuravai with the variJ He was 
such an expert. 

26-35 Her music teacher was likewise skilled in handling the 

under one category or the other. Like kuttUy music was also classified as debt 
and mdrga. (See introduction by M. S. Ramaswami Aiyar to his edition of 
the Svaramelakaldnidhiy Annamalai University, 1932.) 

^ Of the fourteen limbs of vtlakku three are distinguished, venduvilakkuy 
fataivilakku and urvilakku. For details see Adiyarkkunallar’s commentary, 
Sila.y p. 82. 

® Th® expression pdttu here is a reference to the Aham. and Puram. 

ndiaham, or dramatic compositions. 

“ The gestures of pddal are said to be of eight kinds. 

^This was either with the hands or a metal disk. Was the Tamil techni- 
cal expression pan derived from it? 'The earliest texts of the Tcvdram and 

N alayiraprahandam classify the psalms according to parts, 

* This tukku is said to be of seven kinds. The reverberations arc 

created by the manipulation of time-beats. Probably pdni and tukku com- 
posed a full tdlain. 

® The pin^i consisted of twenty-four exhibitions and the pinaiyal of 

^ These are the kuravaikkuttu and the varilzkutfu. 

III. 36] Arangerrukadai 99 

ydl^ and the kulal (flute), ^ in the technique of the tdlam 
(timing), in the manipulation of the vocal chords, and in 
the production of the soft low note of the mrdangam.^ 

He could make all these sounds harmonize agreeably to 
the dance (adal). Knowing what music was appropriate 
to the vari and adai, he had the discriminating knowledge 
of all the subtle sounds of the flawless desikam music. 
Because of his perfect knowledge he could elaborate upon 
and classify all varieties of dances and music, and still 
remain true to the spirit of their composers. 

There was, again, the learned composer of songs whose 36-44 
knowledge of the Tamil language was complete and known 
to the whole Tamil land surrounded by the noisy sea.* An 
authority in the art of dramaturgy he had a knowledge of 
the two branches, vettiyal^ and poduviyal,^ and exhibited 
it in his compositions. Realizing the improper expressions 
employed by others (his rivals), he scrupulously avoided 
such defects in his own dramatic poetry. 

^ Four varieties of yal are distinguished : periydl, makaraydl, iahotaydly 
and ^engdttiydl of 21, 19, 14 and 7 strings respectively. (See also 
st. 152, comment.). It may be pointed out that Sarngadeva’s vind was of 
22 strings, and that it was simplified ’ by Ramamatya (i6th cent.) into one of 
seven strings, and by his critic and successor Venkatamakhi (17th cent.) into 
one of five strings. We cannot say po.sitively what was the type prevalent in 
the Tamil country. The yal was apparently the vina, known' as such because 
of the figure of the conventional lion into which the shaft was. worked at the 
end.. The terms makaraydl, etc., give a clue to it. The lute is an instrument 
going back to Vedic times. 

^ The kulal was made of one of five materials, namely, bamboo, sandal, 
bronze, red catechu, or coromandel ebony. Of these, bamboo was regarded 
as the best material, bronze middling, and others as distinctly inferior. The 
flute was as ancient an instrument as the lute and the drum, 

® This is one of the thirty-one skin instruments of music. 

* Surrounded by sea on three sides and extending up to Vengadam 
(modern Tirupati Hills) in the north and the Kumari in the south was the 
ancient Tamil land. Here three branches of Tamil literature were current. 

® The branch relating to Aham. in the dramatic composition. 

® The branch relating to Pur am, in dramatic works. 

^ The technical term Tamil is of three kinds, iyal^ Uai and ndtakam. 
See V. G. Suryanarayana Sastri, History of the Tamil Language^ 1930, and 
Pandit V. Swaminatha Aiyar’s Sangatiamilum Pirkdlattamilum^ 1929, pp. 45-52. 
lyal refers to literary Tamil; Uai is that division of Tamil literature which 

ICO The Silappadikaram [III. 45 

45~55 played upon the mrdangani, knew all forms of 

dancing and singing, the musical notes, the pure Tamil 
modes of speech, the melody and the tdlam, the harmony 
born of differentiated time-beats, as well as the flaws that 
might result from such manipulations, together with the 
use of different kinds of expressions (desikam). In playing 
upon his instruments, he knew how to combine correctly 
single beats, how to give time for double beats so as to be 
heard well, how to make both these kinds of beats melo- 
diously merge with the notes of the lute and the flute, and 
also with the evenly drawn-out note of the vocal chords. 
With dexterity he could, wherever necessary, subdue the 
sound of his instrument, so that the other instruments 
might be properly heard ; at times, he would also fitly 
drown them with the overpowering sound of his mrdan- 
gam. (Such was the high degree of perfection which 
this master had reached.) 

56-69 The flutist was a master of the traditional rules of that 
art. He knew .the two combinations known as cittirad 
and vanjanai,^ whereby harsh syllables were softened and 
rendered sweet to the ear. He knew the four varttanas 
(involving fingering skill), and with his knowledge of the 
science of the pdlai music (kural and he adjusted him- 
self to the sound produced by the mulavu. He could play 
carefully enough to be in tune with the mr dan gam and the 
iK strains of the flute. He could observe the notes voiced 
by the singer and elaborate upon what he heard and at 
the same time keep himself within the limits of the tune. 
He exhibited his grasp of melodies* by playing note by 
note so that each separate sound might faultlessly be heard. 

consists of verses set to music as distinct from poetry or drama. Natakam 
IS dramatic literature. These three divisions constitute the muUamih 

^ The term cittira-p-punarppu is nasalizing the hard consonants in singing 
a musical piece (Tamil Lexicon^ p. 141). 

* The term vaHjanai-p-punarppu Is nasalizing the soft consonants in sink- 
ing. ^ 

® Also Pattaiai as in vannap-pattatai of the line 63. 

♦ The technical terms are varappdidl and huiaippadat 

III. 70] Arangerrukadai loi 

Then there was the master of the lute of the fourteen 70-79 
strings. In order to produce the seven pdhi notes he 
would conjointly sound the respective strings in the lute, 
known as the tdram, and the kural, and bringing them to 
the central part of the lute he would tune the kaikkilai 
part of the instrument. Similarly, touching the other 
stout string on the taram side and the other two slender 
strings on the kural side and bringing them to the central 
part of the lute, he would tune the vilari part of the 

Then proceeding from ulai, the most slender string, up 80-94 
to the kaikkilai, he would play upon all the fourteen strings 
and thus produce the sempalai note. In a definite order 
the notes would arise, e.g. padumalaippdlai from kaikkilai, 
sevvalippdlai from tuttam, kddippalai from taram, vilarip- 
pdlai from vilari, mersempdlai from ili — thus are the 
combinations effected. In the lute, the notes become 
lower and lower as they pass over to the left (side of 
the instrument). It is just the opposite in the flute. The 
expert in the lute can mix the low and high and the mid- 
dling notes with a pleasing effect. 

The site for erecting the stage was also chosen in 95-1 r4 
accordance with w^ell-established traditions, having regard 
to the nature of the soil. For purposes of the measure- 
ment of the stage, ^ the kol, which was a piece of bamboo 
growing in the sacred high hills, with the length of a 
span between every two of its joints, and with twenty- 
four thumb breadths, was the standard. The stage was 
eight kdls in length, seven kdls in breadth, and one kol in 
height. It had two appropriate doors. The plank 

' The reference to nul in 11. 95-6 shows the authority of the iilpa§astra 
which was then in vogue. According to Arumpadavurai the reference is to 
dramatic works. This is not very convincing. The choice of the site and 
the fixing of the stage must follow the prescriptions of the iilpa§dstra only. 

* For a description of the stage see Suddhdnandappirakd^a quoted by 
Pandit Swaminatha Aiyar, pp. 114-5, n. The two doors weto intended 

gne for entrance and thg other for exit. 


The Silappadikaram [III. 114 

platform placed over it was four kdls in width. Over the 
stage were placed painted pictures (of the hhutamy for 
praise and worship. The graceful lamp illumining the 
stage was so placed that the pillars did not cast shadows.® 
The single screen and the screen’ between the two pillars 
to the right of the stage, besides the overhanging curtain, 
were well manipulated by ropes. (Added to these) was 
the canopy painted'^ with many beautiful pictures, from 
which were hanging loosely, garlands of pearl and others. 
Such was the novel and attractive appearance which the 
stage presented. 

1 14-120 The talaikkdl, or the staff,’ was the central shaft of 
a splendid white umbrella captured in the battle-field from 
monarchs of great repute. It was covered over by 
purest jamhunada gold,® its joints bedecked with nine 
gems. This staff represented Jayanta, Indra’s son, and 
as such was worshipped in the palace of the protecting 
king of the white umbrella (the Cola). 

On the day^ on which this staff was to be used by the 
dancing-girl, she had to bathe it with holy waters, brought 

^ This statement shows that the institution of vamdhama had already 
come to stay in the Tamil land. The names of the deities or hutas wor- 
shipped are Vacciradehan, Vacciradandan, Varunan and Irattake^varan {Sila.y 
p. 1 15, n. Cf. Jlvakacintamaniy st. 672). Further details as to the clothing, 
food, etc., of these four hiitas are seen in ^Alarpatukadai’, 11 . 2 if. and 
11. no ff. 

® This shows a highly advanced state of engineering skill. 

® In the Jwahacintdmani these three kinds of screens (elint) are mentioned 
(st. 675, comm.). See also Mani., canto v, 1 . 3. Elini is evidently the same 
as yavanika» 

* Portrait painting was not unknown in the early centuries of the Christ- 
ian era. Cf. ManLy canto xviii, 1. 46. 

* 11. 1 14-5 are repeated in a slightly altered form in canto xxviii, 11. 98-9 
of this work. 

® Four varieties of gold are distinguished, of which the jdmbmada is the 
purest variety. 

^ Adiyarkkunallar, acting on the authority of Mativananar, speaks of the 
following as the auspicious days : Purdtam^ Kartikai, Puianty Barani, Revatiy 
Tiruvdtiraiy Avit^am, Ciitirai, Viidkamy and Makam, The tds^is appropriate 
to these are J^sabha, Simha, Tuldm, Kadakanty Vricikaniy and Mitunani. It 
must be noted that there is no warrant in the text for such astronomical 

III. 12 1 ] Arangerrukadai 103 

in a golden pitcher, and afterwards to garland it. Then 
it was handed over with a blessing to the State elephant 
already adorned with a plate of gold and other ornaments 121-129 
on its forehead. To the accompaniment of the drum pro- 
claiming victory, and other musical instruments, the king 
and his five groups of advisers^ were to circumambulate 
the chariot and the elephant and give the talaikkol to the 
musician-poet on the top of the chariot. Then they went 
round the town in a procession, and entering the theatre 
they placed the talaikkol in its appointed position. 

After this the instrument-players occupied their allotted 130-49 
seats. ^ The dancing-girl (Madavi) placed her right foot^ 
forward, and stepping in, stayed by the side of the pillar 
on the right, according to the ancient custom. Likewise 
her older assistants who followed the old custom gathered 
themselves by the side of the pillar on the left. The two 
kinds of prayer (ydram) were sung in turn so that virtue 
might increase and vice might disappear. At the close of 
the prayer all the musical instruments held by the respec- 
tive players were sounded.* The lute was in tune with 
the flute, and the mrdangam with the lute. The resound- 
ing note was in tune with the mrdangam, and the dmanti- 
rikai with the sound of the pot.*" Each was in perfect 
harmony with the other. Two beats made one mandilam, 
and eleven such mandilams were executed in conformity 
with the established theatrical practice. When this 

^ The term aimperumkulu has been interpreted in different ways. See 
S. K. Aiyangar, Hindu Administrative Institutions in South India, 1931, p. 18,; 
K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, The Pdndyan Kingdom, pp. 32-3 ; also Dikshitar, 
Hindu Administrative Institutions, pp. 161-2 ; Studies in Tamil Literature and 
History f p. 204. 

2 The allotment of the places was according to the prescription of the 
Sdstra which Adiyarkkunallar styles as nid, from which he quotes the mode 
of arrangement on the stage. (See p. 118.) 

3 Placing the right foot in the first entrance of any new place or build- 
ing is considered to be auspicious even today in India. 

^ For a similar expression see Mam., canto vii, 1. 45. 

* For a similar order for playing on musical instruments see Jivakacinta- 
mani, St. 124 and 675, comm. See qlso Iraiyanar Ahapporul, sutra 40, comm* 

104 Silappadikaram [III. 150 




musical act, called antarakhoitu, was over, the auspicious 
pdlaippan was sung without the slightest violence to its 
rigid measure. 

The four parts^ of the auspicious song were suitably- 
introduced. Beginning with three mandilams (or ottus) it 
ended with one ottu (ekatalam) ; with this captivating 
mandilam the desi dance came to an end. 

Madavi also danced the vaduku dance. ^ Then it 
appeared as if the five-beat-mode of each of the two styles 
of dancing, desi and vaduku, was concentrated in one style 
— so captivating was her dance. In her quick movement 
she looked like a golden creeper animated with life. 
Because her dance was perfect and scientifically correct,® 
the king, who protected the world, in due recognition, 
presented her with a green leaf-garland and one thousand 
and eight kahnjus'^ of gold, which was the customary 
present given to dancers who held the talikkol and exhi- 
bited their talents for the first time. 

Fawn-eyed Madavi® handed over a garland to a hunch- 
backed woman, and asked her to stand out in the street 
where the rich citizens of the city passed to and fro, 

^ The names of these four are ukkiram, Uirirjaiy ahhogam^ and pirakalai, 
Stla., p. 75. 

® In the vaduku style of dancing she began with mattattalam^ and ended 
with ekatalam (single time-beat). 5ila., p. 76. 

® N dt^iya-N annul is apparently a treatise dealing with tandavaniy nrtyam^ 
and nd{yam, something like the Bharatandtya^stra in Sanskrit, now being 
published in the Baroda Sanskrit Series. 

■* Kalanju-pon was an ancient coin of Tamil land. The term kalafiju often 
occurs in Tamil inscriptions, and means sometimes a coin and sometimes 
gold bullion of the proper standard of weight and fineness. (See An. Rep. Ep.^ 
1912, p. 65 and op. cit., 1916, p. 116), *In an early Pandya inscription (No. 90 
of 1908) it occurs as the equivalent of the Sanskrit Krsnakdcha, and Mr. H. 
W. Codrington of the Ceylon Civil Service informs me that in that island 
a coin of the halanju weight was called kdhapana. No. 197 of appendix B 
gives kalafiju as the equivalent of ni^ka.^ Thus writes the epigraphist, op. cit., 
p. 106. 

* From the expression namko^i in 1, 166 it would be more appropriate if 
the words in 11. 164-6 were spoken by Madavi’s mother j but the commentators 
attribute them to Madavi herself. 

III. 1643 Arangernikadai 105 

as i£ she was offering- it^ for sale, and to announce that 
‘this garland is worth a sum of 1008 kalanjus of very ex- 
cellent gold. He who buys this garland becomes the 
husband of our creeper like lady*. Xhe garland represent- 
ing the large lotus-eyed Madavi was purchased by 
Kovalan, and, accompanied by the hunchback, he enter- 
ed Madavi's bridal chamber, and as he embraced her 
he was captivated so much by her charms that he forgot 
himself and did not like to part from her. In sooth, he 
forgot his own unsullied home and wife. 


With golden bangles, Madavi of Pumpuhar exhi- 
bited her skill on the dancing stage by word of mouth, in 
respect of numbers and letters, five iyals, four pans, and 
eleven kinds of kiittus^ making her reputation spread on 
the earth. 

^ The garland was not worth 1008 kalafljus. But it was the symbol for 
Madavi who was worth 1008 kaljinjus, and it was announced that whosoever 
wanted to take her as his partner should be prepared to pay so much gold. 

Canto IV 




1-20 At the time when Mother Earth, enrobed by rhe waters 
of the deep, felt afflicted exclaiming, ‘I do not see the 
mighty lord (the Sun) who sent out his rays all over the 
world and ruled it with his unequalled single disk ! Nor 
is it known where is the (prince) Moon who illumines the 
wide sky with his cool rays.’ And when her four faces 
(the four directions) turned pale, her flower-eyes moist, 
and her whole form covered with dew like the chieftain, 
who occupies, with the aid of rebellious subjects, the 
kingdom of powerful kings during their absence, to the 
grief of loyal tax-paying subjects. Evening (the alien chief) 
made his triumphant entry into fertile old Puhar, to 
the grief of faithful wives left alone by their husbands, 
and to the delight of disloyal women enjoying the company 
of their secret lovers. It was then that the Kovalar^ 
sent forth from their flutes the mullai songs, the buzzing 
bee sucked the honey from the mullai flowers, the soft- 
footed southern breeze warded off the six-footed bee 
(kurumbuy which had forced his way into unopened buds, 

^ The term Kovalar means Gopalar or cowherds. They are a community 
belonging to the region of the mullai. The whole Tamil land was classified 
into five regions, namely marudam (river-bed), hurinji (hill), neydal (littoral 
tracts), fdlai (deserts), and mullai (forests). 

® The six-footed bee is referred to by the term kurumbu as it acts like the 
Kurumbar, a term which stands for petty chieftains. The ICurumbar were a 
marauding tribe who suddenly fell on the enemy’s cattle, and disturbed the 
peace and security of the land- In 1 . 24 of the same canto Evening is 
described as kurumbu, occurring as it does at the intervening time between 
the day and the night. (Cf. Kalittogai, st. 118, 1.8.) For the Kurumbar, 
see J. G. Frazer, Tot^mism qnd Exogamy, Vol. II, 1910, pp. 244 if. 

IV. 21 ] Antimalaissirappucceykadai 107 

and wafted the fragrance into the open street, and maidens 
with glittering bangles lit their shining lamps. 

(At that time), in his capacity being the lineal ancestor^ 21-26 
of the Pandyas, whose trait it was to turn back, in spite 
of their tender age, the invading enemy, the youthful 
crescent Moon appeared in the sky and drove away the 
annoying chieftain, Evening. Thus without losing his 
greatness, the silvery moon, the king of the stars, spread 
his milk-white brilliance all around. 

Finding in her bedchamber, where the bed was strewn 27-34 
with home-grown mullai, fragrant jasmine and many 
other flowers, that the clothing on her waist had slipped 
and the coral girdle enveloping it had consequently 
become displaced, Madavi, who was in a wistful mood, 
betook herself to the open moonlit terrace, and gave her 
lover alternate moments of union (kalavif and lovers’ 
quarrel (pulavi), compromising Kovalan then and there 
with a loving heart. 

Besides Madavi, there were others with lilylike eyes, 35-46 
who were sleeping blissfully on the breasts of their lovers, 
fanned by the soft breeze after exhausting themselves in 
voluptuous enjoyment. But first they put out the fumes 
of incense made up by mixing the white ayir^ of the 
western hills with the black agar of the eastern hills ; they 
(still) wore the sandal-paste prepared by rubbing the 
sandalwood of the southern mountains^ upon the sand- 
stone of the northern hills f and they also wore green 

^ Tradition avers the Pandyas to be a branch of the ancient lunar race 
of kings. Compare this line with Pur am. y st. 58, 1 . 8, where the term 
pancavar occurs, more or less with the same attributes. 

® The terms kalavi and pulavi are technical terms in Tamil love literature. 
See the Tirukkuraly ch. 13 1 and 133. 

^ According to Adiyarkkunallar ayir is sugar-candy which was exported 
to India from the Yavana country. But ayir seems to be a fragrant substance 
white in colour. 

* The Podiyil Hill noted for sandalwood - (Sans., candanacala). 

* The Tirupati Hills, the northern limit of Tamilaham ; the term 
Vdnkeha^tam occurs in the Nedunalvddai, 1 . 51 and the Ahdm.^ st 3^0. 

io8 The Silappadikaram [IV. 47 

patalai garlands interspersed with segments of tender lotus 
stalk, the lotus flower, the blue flower, and the kalun'ir in 
addition to pearl necklaces, which having slipped lay in 
mixed confusion on the flowery bed together with particles 
of fine powders. 

57 But Kan^aki' was sad at heart. Her anklet was no 
more on her charming feet; the girdle no longer graced 
her soft waist-cloth; her breasts were no more painted 
with vermilion paste : no jewel other than her scared tali 
did she wear ; no ear-rings were visible on her ears ; no 
perspiration adorned her shining moon-like face ; nor was 
there collyrium on her long fish-like eyes ; no more was 
there the tilaka on her beaming forehead ; her milk-white 
teeth were not revealed to Kovalan in a loving smile ; nor 
was her dark hair softened by oil. 

71 (Nor was Kannaki alone in her sorry plight.) Owing 
to their separation from their dear lords, other ladies who 
breathed heavily as bellows, abandoned the bedchamber® 
which they used during the hot season for that with 
narrow windows, which they used during the cold weather. 
They were sad that their breasts could not be decked with 
sandal-paste or with strings of pearls. They did not go 
near the bed of cool flowers plucked from flower-pots and 
watery fields. They could no longer repose on beds 
which were made of the soft down shed by the swan when 
it was pairing with its loving mate. These unhappy 
women, who once, unperturbed, in udaF (lovers’ quarrel) 
with their loving husbands rolled their eyes between the 
bridges of their noses and the tips of their ears, were now 

According to some, the northern mountains may refer to the Himalayas. 
This is unconvincing as the Himalayas are not noted for sandstone. Even 
today visitors to Tirupati purchase stones on which sandal-paste is prepared. 

^ These ten lines describe the conduct of a chaste lady who is separated 
from her husband. In 1. 50, the term mangalavani is undoubtedly a reference 
to the tali or the fnatlgalyasutraTn, 

* Mention of five beds- in the Jtvakacintdmani, st. 838. 

^ Odal is a term of much significance in Ti^mil fove literature. (See the 
Tffukkural, ch. 13^. Cf. fulavL) 

72-8 o 

IV. 72] Antimalaissirappucceykadai 109 

in despair. Their long eyes, red with weeping, dropped 
pearl-like tears because of their loneliness. 

(At such a time) with the swan’s soft tread for her 
gentle gait, with the sweet-smelling and honey-hiding 
ambal flower for her fragrance, with the blooming lotus 
for her rosy lips, with the black sand for her wavy hair, 
the ladylike lake with the notiram melody of bard-bees 
opened her eyes, which were the fair kuvalai flowers, 
when the birds and fowls sent out from time to time 
their shrill and loud notes, as if they beat the drum and 
blew the conch, till the dawn expelled the darkness of the 
night from the city which resembled the expansive sea. 

One would say that in these watches of the dark night 81—84 
(pakaiy the fish-bannered prince (Cupid), going from place 
to place armed with his sugar-cane bow and flower-arrow, 
stood excellent guard over the city. 

^ The lake is compared to a lady. The blossoming kuvalai flowers in 
the lake are the lady’s eyes which, as their petals open in the morning, 
represent the lady’s awakening. The ancient custom was for members of 
a noble family to be roused by the singing of auspicious songs. In the 
allegory this is represented by the bees* humming round the lotuses. 

* Note the peculiar use of the term pakal meaning midnight. Cf. 
Maduraikkaiiji, 1 . 653 ; Puram., st. 1S9, 1 . 3. 

Canto V 




1-6 The Sun appeared over the top of the Udaya hill, 
removed the cover of darkness by spreading its shining 
rays to illumine the vast earth which erstwhile looked like 
a melancholy maiden, with the sea of waves for her robes, 
the hills for breasts, the large rivers for garlands and the 
clouds for flowing locks of hair. 

7-23 The Sun shone over the open terraces,* over the ware- 
houses near the harbours,^ and over the turrets with 
air-holes^ looking like the eyes of deer. In different 
places of Puhar the onlooker’s attention was arrested by 
the sight of the abodes of Yavanas'* whose prosperity was 
never on the wane. On the harbour were to be seen sailors 
come from distant lands,® but for all appearance they 
lived as one community. In the streets of the city 
hawkers went about with paints, bathing powders and cool 
pastes, flowers, incense and fragrant scents. In certain 
places weavers were seen dealing in fine fabrics made of 
silk, fur and cotton.® Whole streets were full of silks, 
corals, sandal and myrrh, besides a wealth of rare 

^ For a similar description of 11. 7-58, see Maui., canto xxviii, 11. 29-68. 

® This testifies to the existence of foreign trade on a large scale. 

It may be noted here that the lattice windows were a characteristic 
feature of ancient houses. 

Adiyarkkunallar interprets it as mUcchas, To the ancient Hindus all 
foreigners were mlecchas. 

Men of different nationalities engaged in maritime commercial ventures 
were seen in the city. 

Besides cotton and silk, it may be noted that the hair of the rat was 
used for weaving clothes. But rats have no hairs and therefore the reference 
cannot be to the hair of Indian rats. These weavers were known as Karukas. 

V. 24] Indiravilavureduttakadai 111 

ornaments, perfect pearls, gems and gold, which were 
beyond reckoning. 

There were also other streets where grain-dealers 24-39 
lived who kept their grains in separate heaps. ^ Washer- 
men, makers of muffins, wine-sellers, fishermen selling 
fish, dealers in white salt, those who sold betel leaves, 
those who dealt in scents, mutton- vendors, oil -mongers, 
meat- vendors, dealers in bronze, manufacturers of copper, 
carpenters, strong-armed blacksmiths, sculptors, potters, 
goldsmiths, jewellers, tailors, cobblers, skilled workers of 
all sorts who made fancy trinkets of pieces of cloth and 
cork, great musicians^ who knew the whole technique of 
musical science® and could exhibit their faultless skill on 
flute and lute by sounding the seven notes ; and finally the 
lower class of artists who excelled in several minor arts, 
had their respective localities. All these places in the city 
went by the name of maruvurppaJtkam. 

In another part of the city there were the king’s street,^ 40-58 
the car street with flying flags, the bazaar street, the broad 
highway where highborn merchants lived on either side in 
the turreted houses, the Brahmana street,® the streets 'of 
physicians and astrologers® respectively, and of agricultural 

^ Generally the different varieties of grains were classified into eight kinds 
and sometimes into eighteen kinds. The eight varieties are paddy, grass, 
varaku, tirai (little millet), sdinai (common millet), irungu (great millet or 
black colam), torai (paddy grown in the hilly tracts), and ragi. 

^ The term in the text is perumpdn as against the expression iirupdn. 

The first is a group of experts who could play with ease on superior instru- 
ments like the periydl, and the latter are a group of minstrels who occupied 
a lower status, and who were skilled in playing smaller instruments like 
the Seriydl. Belonging to these two groups, we have the Perumpdnd^ruppa’ 
dat, and the Sirupdndrruppa 4 ai, two works under the category of the 

® This may be interpreted also ^who had inherited their skill from their 

* See Mani., canto iv, 11 . 37-8. The Rdjamdrga of Sanskrit literature. 

® It is interesting to see that the term maraiyor is interpreted by the 
commentators as pancagrdmins. In the light of the terms hhutagrdma and 
indriyagfdma in Sanskrit literature, this term may refer to Brahmans who 
perform austerities by self-control. 

® See Mant,, canto ii, 1 . 29. 


THe Silappadikaram [V. 59 

communities, and the broad street having the residences 
of those who dexterously bored holes in gems and pearls 
and mounted them, and of those who polished the shells 
and the conches that were worn as ornaments. There 
were also separate quarters where dwelt sutas and 
mdgadhas,^ religious dancers, astronomers,^ mock-dancers, 
prostitutes, actresses,® maidens bearing flowers and betels, 
maid-servants. bagpipe musicians, drummers of different 
sorts, buffoons and jesters. 

In an extensive open space, on the outskirts of the 
city, were quarters occupied by cavalrymen with swift 
horses, elephant warriors, charioteers with lofty chariots 
and infantrymen with fearsome looks. This region was 
further celebrated by the presence of highly renowned 
great men. It went by the name of pattinappdkkam. 

59-63 The central part of the city between the two divisions 
maruvurppdkkam and paUinappakkam) was open and 
looked like the battlefield where the armies of two great 
monarchs could meet. Underneath the dense rows of 
trees were erected permanent booths and stalls. That 
was the market-place (ndlangddi)^ where the din and 
bustle of sellers and buyers could be heard throughout the 

64-75 On the day on which the moon approached the cittirai 
star in the month of cittirai (i.e. on the full-moon day) the 
sacrifice of boiled grains, sweetened sesame balls, meat 
mixed with rice, flowers, incense, and toddy was offered 
by the elderly (marava) maidens, in fascinating dress, and 
as if devoid of shame at the altar in front of the guardian 
deity® who had arrived in obedience to the orders of the 

^ Cf. Kaupaliya Arthasdstra^ Bk. X, ch. iii. 

® Mani,' canto vii, 1. 65. 

» ibid., canto xx, 1. 30. * ibid., canto xxiv, I. 19. 

* The ndlanga 4 i is literally a day-market. It was situated in the central 
portion of the city, between the maruvurppdkkam and the paiHnappdkktnn^ 
the two broad divisions of the city. 

® For the work of the Buta, etc., see canto vi, 11. 7 ff. following, and 
the commentary thereon. 

V. 7^] Indira vilavureduttakadai 113 

Lord of the Devas, to ward off the evil which might be- 
fall the victorious king (Mucukunda)/ they then enjoyed 
themselves in the tunangai^ and kuravai as if possessed 
with divinity and left the place with the loud prayer 
‘May the king of the land and all this vast kingdom not be 
troubled by hunger, disease or enmity but enjoy seasonal 
rains and prosperity’. 

The valiant warriors residing in the suburbs (maru- 76-88 
vurppdkkam) and the leaders of the army quartered in the 
city (pattinappdkkam), vied with one another in going 
first to the great altar to make the asseveration ‘May all 
evil to our mighty king be warded off, and may you (the 
Butam) stand firm on the side of those who propitiate 
you with offerings !’ Stone-slingers, and different classes 
of soldiers who held shields stained with blood and human 
flesh, as well as lances, patted themselves on their should- 
ers, shouting exultingly, and cut off their dark-haired 
heads containing such fierce red eyes as seemed to burn 
those upon whom they looked, and willingly offered them 
upon the sacrificial altar (of the guardian deity) with the 
prayer that the conquering king might be ever victorious, 
when those headless trunks seemed to speak through the 
drums of untanned leather these words of thunder : ‘We 
have given you our lives as a sacrifice : Accept them.’® 

^ For a different version of the story see the Bhagavata Pur ana. Mucu- 
kunda is one of the three sons of Mandhata and Bindumati. His brothers are 
Purukutsa and Ambarisa (Bhdga. Pur., Bk. IX, ch. 6, st. 38). Hearing that 
Kalayavana, or simply Yavana, was carrying destiuction to the Devas, Mucu- 
kunda entered the cave, the residence of Yavana, and slew him, to the 

wonder of the Devas. Indra offered him a place of honour in heaven. 

But Mucukunda wanted to go on sleeping in that cave undisturbed for an 

unlimited period. Krsna met him and blessed him as a yogtn, (ibid., Bk. X, 
ch. 51). He undertook penance in the Badari nsrarua. 

^ The term tunangai, otherwise known as Ungi (see Divdkaram., st. 9) is 
the dance in which the dancers rested their hands on their hips. In the 

kuravai they grasped each other’s hands in a circle. 

® The reference is to talai-haJi, a very ancient custom prevalent in South 
India, bearing strong evidence to the early forms of Sakti worship. This is 
corroborated by the Pallava architecture. (See the interesting article, ‘The Head 
offering to the Goddess in Pallava Architecture’, of Dr, J. Ph. Vogel in the 


114 Silappadikaram [V. 89 

89-98 Once Tirumavalavan^ felt that there was no foe on 
either side® fit to fight with him and thinking, in his thirst 
for war, that there might be foes in the north, he had an 
auspicious day® chosen for taking out hig sword, umbrella* 
and war-drum,® and he prayed to his guardian deity that 
he might be lucky enough to find an enemy fit to encounter 
his broad shoulders, and advanced in that direction. Find- 
ing the great Himalayas, the residence of gods, as the 
barrier arresting his further progress, he retreated with 
pride after engraving his tiger-emblem on its rocky side. 

99-1 lo On his return, the king of the great Vacciranadu® whose 
sway extended as far as the roaring sea (in the east), gave 
him a pearl canopy as tribute while th» king of Magadha^ 
famous for his sword-play, and his enemy a while ago, 
presented to him an audience-hall® (pattimandapam) . The 
king of Avanti gave him a friendly present of a tall and 
beautiful arch on the gateway. Though all these were 
made of gold and gems, their technique was not known to 
human artists even of exceptional skill ; they were long 
ago given to the ancestors of these three monarchs by the 

Bulletin of the School of Orieutal Studies^ London, Vol. VI, Pt. II, 1931-) See 
also the Kalaimagal^ Vol. I, pp. 416 ff., where Prof. K. A. NUakanta Sastri 
translates the above contribution, and ibid., pp. S02 ff., where again Pandit 
M. Raghava Aiyangar re-examines it in the light of literature. 

' 1 irumavajavan is the name of Karikal-Peruvalattcln, who was actuated 
by imperialism and lust of conquest. 

® Perhaps the Cera and the Pandya kings. Cf. the closing lines of canto i, 
and the footnote. 

® Cf. Vanat-kodal, (Pu. Pof.^ venhd ‘Vafiji’, st. 4). 

* Cf. Kutainakkodal, ibid., st. 3. 

® Mura.<unat-k6dal, Pur am., st. 50 n. 

«Vajranri(Ju on the banks of the river Sonai (.Son). Its king held 
the status of an uddhlna or neutral of the iVtha.<astra literature. We are 
not able to locate this country definitely. Perhaps it is the region where 
the tribe Vajji.s of the Jatakas lived. This was on the northern shores of 
the Cianges opposite to Magadha (Tam., Magada). See S. B. L. Cowell, 
Jatakas, Vol. VI, p. 120. 

^ The king of Magadha was the ari or enemy. 

• For pattimandapam, see Mani., canto i, 11. 6o-i. The hall where learned 
men assembled and held discourse. (See TirttvSeagam, patti)iiand<^pam errinai 
erxinal, ‘^atakam’ 49.) Naccinarkkiniyar holds the view that it was more an 
assembly of Sanskrit pandits. See Talk., PoruL, sufra 490, comm. 

V. Ill] Indiravilavureduttakadai 115 

divine Maya in return for some valuable service rendered 
to him. When they were all placed together, they formed 
an artistic mandapam much praised by great men. 

(In addition to this) there was the open space {vellitai- 1 11-17 
manram) where could be found many bundles of goods 
with marks indicative of the quantity,^ weight and names 
of their new owners. Since there was neither gate nor 
lock nor watchman guarding them, thieves might some- 
times be tempted to remove these bundles on their heads. 

And if they did so, the invisible deity guarding the place 
would make the thief go round and round the open plain, 
with the heavy burden on his head but would not permit 
him to pass away from there. The very thought of steal- 
ing anything made people quake with fear.^ 

Next, there was the place (ilanjimanram) with the 1 18-21 
miraculous lake by bathing in and circumambulating which 
all hunchbacks and cripples, the dump, the deaf and 
lepers were cured of their infirmities and gained health and 
grace of form. 

Then there was the open space where stood the tall 122-27 
shining stone (nedumkalninramanram), by the worship of 
and going round which were cured all those who had 
grown mad by being deceived (into consuming drugs), 
those who were suffering from palsy as a result of poison, 
those bitten by sharp-toothed venomous serpents and those 
who were possessed by devils with protruding eyes. 

There was again the meeting-place of four roads 128-34 
(butacatukkam) where stood the Buta, proclaiming in a 
voice loud enough to be heard as far as four kavadams^ 
that he would bind with his rope and devour by thrashing 

^ The use of pictographic writing reminds us of South India’s intercourse 
with Egypt on the one hand and the Indus Valley on the other. 

^ One of the references to superstitious belief of the times. See also 
li* i33"7‘ 

The municipal limits of the city of Puhar seem to have been ten miles 
in circumference. The topographical description of ancient Puhar approxi- 
mates to the modern city of Madras. A kdmdain or kddam refers to a distance 
of two and a half miles. 

ii6 The Silappadikaram [V. 134 





the wicked who assumed the garb of asceticism to cover 
their sins/ cunning wives who practised vice in secret, 
intriguing ministers, men who coveted other men’s wives, 
and witnesses who gave false evidence, and tale-bearers. 

Further there was the place (pdvaimanram) where 
stood the statue which would never open its mouth but 
would weep by shedding tears on every occasion when 
there was a deviation from the path of justice by the king, 
or when partiality was shown in his court of justice by 
wrong interpretation of the law. 

Sacrifice was offered in all the five aforementioned 
places® held in veneration by men of wisdom who knew 
the real truth about them. 

Then the auspicious drum was removed from the 
temple called Vaccirakk5ttam,® placed on the nape of the 
elephant adorned with the girdle, and conveyed to the 
temple where the young white elephant stood. This was 
indicative of the beginning and the end of Indra’s festival. 
After this the auspicious tall flag (bearing the ensign of 
the white elephant) which stood in the temple of the Kal- 
paka (tarunilaikkdttam) tree was hoisted aloft in the sky. 

On the verandas of the big mansions^ were to be seen 
artistic planks set with emeralds and diamonds whereon 
stood coral pillars. At the entrance of these mansions 

^ Six kinds of heinous offences are mentioned here. It may be noted 
in passing that the Kautaliya Arthaidstra prescribes heavy punishments in 
the case of pseudo-sannydsins^ false witnesses, adulterers, etc. 

* As many as five manzams are mentioned here. 

^ See Mani , canto i, II. 27^8. (Sans., Vajrakosfa.) 

* The temple of the Airavata, Indra’s elephant. 

* For a similar celebration of Indra’s festival see Vtramittndaya, 
pp. 425-33 ; Mho.f ‘Adi.’, ch. 64. For the origin of the Indra cult in Rig 
Vedic India, see A. C. Das, Vedic Culture, 1925, pp. 56 ff. It would appear 
from the Vip^iu Purdna (Pt V, ch. 10), that the ancient cowherd communities 
celebrated Indra’s festival, and this was discontinued from the time of 

who wanted the Gopas to take to the worship of cattle and mountains 
which alone afforded them food and occupation. A festival of Indra is referred 
to as being celebrated by King Salavahana and his subjects in the Kalafed- 
edrya Kathd (see W. Norman Brown’s The Story of Kdtaka, 1933, p. 83). 

V. 157] • Indiravilavureduttakadai 117 

were suspended ornamental hangings having the shape of 
the makara fish from whose teeth (horns), carved with 
symbols representing auspicious things and adorned with 
kimpuri, hung strings of pearls in series. The streets 
were further beautified by golden pitchers filled with water, 
glittering pdlikai vessels, lamps wrought in the shape of 
maidens,^ golden flags, pure white feather fans, fragrant 
pastes and many other ornamentations. 

There were assembled in these streets the five great 157-68 
groups of the king’s councillors {aimpemmkuluf and the 
eight great bodies of the king’s retinue (enperdyam) 
princes of the blood royal, sons of the merchant aristocracy, 
fast riders on horseback, groups of elephant riders, and 
charioteers whose chariots were drawn by horses, for the 
glorification of their highly reputed ruler’s sway over this 
wide world. One thousand and eight kings bore on their 
heads gold pots filled with cool and holy water render- 
ed fragrant by floating pollen of flowers of the Kaveri, 
taken, from where it joins the sea, and performed the 
bathing ceremony of the Lord of Gods, to the delight of 
the earth and the admiration of heaven. 

Joy prevailed everywhere on account of Indra’s festi- 169-88 
val in the temple of the great Lord who was never born 
(Siva), in the temple of the six-faced red Lord (Subrah- 
manya), in the temple of Valiyon (Baladeva)* whose 
complexion was like the white conch-shell, in the temple 
of Nediydn (Visnu) of the dark colour, and in the temple 
of Indra of the victorious umbrella and the pearl garland. 

^ Cf. Mani.f canto i, 1 . 45. 

^ For amperumkulu see Mani., canto i, 1 . 17; Tolk. ‘Kilavi*, siitra 57; 
Naccinarkkiniyar’s commentary : minister, purdhita, commander, ambassador, 
and spy. 

® For a twofold interpretation of the term enperdyam^ see Dikshitar, 
Studies in Tamil Literature and History ^ pp. 204-5. 

* The temple of Baladeva is mentioned, besides that of Indra. In later 
days these two cults have become extinct. See R. G. Bhandarkar’s Vaish~ 
navismy Saivism, pp. 3, 9, 11 ; also M. Raghava Aiyangar, Ahdrkdlanilai^ 
p. 7. See also p. 50 supra. 

ii8 The Silappadikaram [V. 189 

On one side the Vedic sacrifices/ as ordained 
by Brahma, were faultlessly performed, and on another 
the festivals pertaining' to the four classes of Devas^ 
and the eighteen Ganas® and different other gods, -were 
separately and correctly conducted. Inside the city were 
the Jaina temples and other Dharma institutions / outside 
were grikoif and other sacred establishments. The 
Purana reciters® also discharged their duties in another 
place. Elsewhere, the king’s victorious chariot, with its 
banners flying, was taken out gracefully to annihilate 
the enemy-kings and others. In another place rose high 
immeasurable melodies produced by the flute, the drum, 
expert players on the yal and the human voice of 
the Panar.^ Thus in that vast city, every lane and 
by-lane were alive with the sound of the drum by night 
and day. 

189-203 Because she had not been separated from her lover, 
Madavi, wearing beautifully serrated ear-rings, had not 
lost her charms. Mingled with the united fragrance of the 
madavi flower,® the home-grown mullai, jasmine, the 
mayilai flower, the pot-grown blue-lotus, and the red 

^ This shows the popularity of the Vedic sacrifices. 

® The four classes are Vasus, Divakaras. Rudras and Maruts : all of 
them are Vedic deities. In reality tradition speaks of thirty-three classes 
of Gods — the eight Vasus, twelve Adityas (Divakara), eleven Rudras, and 
the two Maruts. 

® One classification of the eighteen groups runs as follows : apsaras (?) 
ndgas, iiddhds^ gandharvas, vidyadharas^ pi^dcas, tarakas, hoga-biimiyar, 
kimpunisas, ^enas, asutas^ butasy 7nitnis, devaSy garudas, rdksasas, yaksas 
and cdranars, 

* This may refer to the Jaina or the Buddhist institutions or even to those 
of the orthodox religion. But the term palli shows that there was a school 
of dissenting sects, especially the Jaina. 

^ This is not necessarily a reference to the temple of LaksmT. 

® The reading of the Purdnas in the public places so as to be heard 
by all classes was a feature of ancient days. Cf. Harsacarita where the 
Ydyu Purana is said to have been read in public for the benefit of the masses. 

The Panar were a class of minstrels and masters of music. 

® This can also be interpreted thus : ‘The red madavi flower did not 
become the bud that people love, but grew into a beautifully bent root 
without losing its redness/ 

V. 204] Indira vilavureduttakadai 119 

kaluniT,^ and pleased with love’s delight, seeking sport in 
the pleasure garden made fragrant by the lovable flower- 
buds, entering into the fresh aroma of flowers in the ever- 
mirthful market-place^ caressing the frankincense and the 
■ever- wet sandal-paste, and continuously indulging in the 
joyous lovers’ speech and laughter, the mountain bree2e 
roamed about the city accompanied by the ili-sounding bee 
and by the mild rays of early summer, in the same way 
that Kovalan went about accompanied by minstrels singing 
the kural tune and by his city-companions skilled in love 

One such companion spoke of his sweetheart: ‘Has 
the moon who roams in the beautiful sky become afraid of 
its enemy, the serpent Rahu,‘" and left the sky to appear 
here in your disguise by carrying a heavy cloud on its 
head, parting with the little hare, and painting on its face 
the figures of two fishes (in the place of the two eyes) with 
the kumila flower (the nose) between them?’ 

A second said : ‘Does the flash of lightning nurtured 
with great care by Cupid of the fish-flag (whose body was 
burnt by the spark of Siva’s third eye),^ intend to come 
■down here and regain it by drinking the cool nectar drops 
of the moon?’ 

A third said : ‘Has the honeyed lotus, in the course of 
searching for its companion (Laksmi), transformed itself 
into two dark kuvalai flowers, one on each side of the 
kumila blossom ? Or has it blossomed again into the 
red ilavam and into jasmine to proclaim that it is in this 
flourishing city that the goddess LaksmC has entered so 

^ A categorical list of fragrant flowers which would increase sensuous 

® Here a full description of the ndlangddi is furnished. 

^ Rahu devouring the moon, says the legend, causes lunar eclipses, and 
levouring the sun, solar eclipses. 

* The reference is to Siva burning the God of Love. For a full 
lescription of the legend, see Matsya Purdna, ch. 154, 194 and 245. 

® The term used in the text is ulvarikkolam^ A classic example is that of 
he Pandavas in disguise in Viratanagara. See below, canto viii, 1 . 89, Adi- 
jarkkunallar’s comm. 




120 The Silappadikaram [V. 21S 

that the monarch of the Made world may greatly 

218-23 another said : ‘Is the god of the devouring 

mouth (Yama), who destroys all and who, in fear of the- 
righteous king, gave up the duty imposed on him and 
changed his male form for that of a girl, with a smiling 
countenance and covered with bashfulness, speaking 
words as soft as the notes of the pleasing yal?’ 

224-34 With such frivolous talk the broad-shouldered lovers, 
gained victory over their sweethearts, chaste as Arun- 
dati, who looked like a great army of the bodiless god 
(Cupid), and prevented them from running away from 
their presence by closely clasping them in voluptuous 
embrace and (thereby) smearing their chests all over with 
the sandal solution which adorned the breasts of these 
women. By thus giving them the pleasure of their union, 
they made their wives’ lotus eyes lose the colour of the 
kuvalai and gain instead a reddish tinge (indicative of sleep- 
lessness). The people of the city in a state of helplessness 
and tremor, spoke to themselves, ‘If our great feast can 
do nothing to remove the redness from the eyes of our 
women-folk, is there any medicine at all that can cure this 
in the wide earth ?’ 

235"40 It was then the middle day of the festival in honour of 
the King of Gods (Indra).’ The dark left eye of Kannaki 

^ In the prehistoric days of Tamil India it appears that a certain C5la 

monarch, by name Tufijaiyilei-inda-to^ittot-^embiyan, introduced Indra's festival 

to be celebrated annually in his capital city Pumpuhar. The duration of 
the festival was twenty-eight days. The festival continued to be celebrated 
by succeeding monarchs, as it came to be thought that by not celebrating it, 
the Catukkabutam, engaged on the orders of Indra to check sin and sinners, 
would leave the city thus leading it to desolation and ruin. (See ManL, 
canto i, ‘Vilavara?kadai\) Years rolled by and NedumudikkiHi became the 
monarch. Once when he was spending some time in the royal park, a certain 
beautiful girl presented herself before him, and at his desire, lived with him 

as his wife. One day she suddenly disappeared, and when the King was 

aimlessly inquiring of passers-by, a certain Carana informed him that she 
was Pilivalai, daughter of Valaivanan, King of the Naganadu, and that she 
would return no more, but would send her son. The ship in which the son 
was sent foundered, and moved by great grief the King failed to celebrate 

Indira Vila vureduttakadai 


and the red right eye of Madavi throbbed and were filled 
with tears of sorrow and of joy respectively like the halunlr 
flower w^hich shakes when the sweet pollen inside it emits 
honey and loses its external colour. 

Indra’s festival for the year. On this Manimekalai the deity cursed that 
the city be swallowed by the sea. It so happened, and Aravana-Adigal with 
his disciples left for Vanji (ibid, cantos xxiv-vi). 

Canto VI 




i_i2 Once a Vidyadara hero celebrated, along with his lady- 
love of the long fish-like eyes, a feast in honour of the 
god of love in the extensive, fragrant and flowery grove 
in a Cedi^ on the slopes of the silver-peaked Kailasa.'^ 
He then realized that that was the day‘‘ when Indra’s 
festival would commence in the flourishing city of 
Puhar (Campapati) in South India, and he said to his 
wife, ‘We shall go and witness the place where the 
great Butam eats the sacrifice offered to it (in com- 
memoration of its) having carried out Indra’s orders 
to ward off the evil effects of the arrows aimed by 
hosts of swift-going Asuras against the terror-stricken 
but best of men, the victorious king Mucukunda,'* 
while he was keeping watch, tiger-like over Indra’s 

4_i7 ‘We shall also see the five famous assembly-halls'’’ of 
unrivalled architectural beauty, given by Indra in grati- 
tude and refitted on the earth by the monarch’s ancestor 
who once kept guard over Amaravati.' 

^ The Cedi is the city of the Vidy-adaras according to Jaina literature. 
Cf. Jivakacintamaijij p. 170, st. 546-(2). 

® The Kailasa Hills were the abode oi the celestial Gana, by name the 
Vidyadaras, among others. Cf. Matsya Purdna^ ch. 154. 

® The commentator says the same day next month. 

* Tirunduvelannal occurring in the text is a reference to Mucukunda, once 
the King of the Colas. 

® This city is known as Amaravati in Sanskrit literature. 

^ Five great maniams are mentioned here. 

^ There is a Tamil tradition that the ancient Cola monarch Mucukunda 
went to help Indra when Amaravati was besieged by the Asuras. 


VI. i8] 


‘(Agastya) finding that Narada^ did not play on the 18-27 
Vina properly, or appropriately, to the song of the dancing 
Urvasi before the thousand-eyed Indra®, or to the song of 
her accompanist (toriyamadandai) who sang in the varam 
which did not enrapture his ear, laid a curse, “Let the 
lute lose its charm, and let this dancer be born on the 
earth.” In the line of that Urvasi was born Madavi with 
her hood like alkul. (In Puhar) we shall witness her 

‘My dear coral-mouthed, slender-waisted girl, we shall 28-34 
there worship Indra, the lord of gods.’ So saying, 
he started showing his lady-love the many-crested 
Himalayas,® the ever -flowing Ganges, the city of 
Ujjain,'* the Vindhya forests, the Tirupati hills,® and the 
Kaveri tracts overburdened with crops, and finally reached 
Puhar, enveloped by flowery groves. He showed her 
also the city, after performing the worship of Indra 
in the prescribed manner, and then witnessed the 
celebration of the enjoyable festival in that ancient and 
affluent town. 

Said he then (to his fair companion) : ‘My dear, thou 35-43 
wilt hear the devapani^ in honour of Visnu, the four songs 
in honour of the four butams worshipped respectively by 
the four castes, and the song in honour of the Moon 
roaming in the sky for the benefit of all. Afterwards 

^ Narada^ the divine music master, and author of 5 ifesa, a musical 
treatise of the orthodox school. Because he did not play properly on the 
lute, the sage Agastya cursed his instrument. 

® This is similar to the Sanskrit term ^ahasrdksa, 

® The geographical data are furnished. The Kailasa Hills are on the 
Himalayan slopes. The way to Puhar lay through the Ganges, Ujjain, the 
Vindhyas, the Tirupati hills, and the Kaveri tracts, 

^ Ujjain is an ancient city much celebrated in Sanskrit literature- 

® Venkatam, or the Tirupati hills, is celebrated in ancient Tamil literature 
of the Sangam age. The Alvars refer to it, and Peyalvar speaks of it as 
Tirumalai lyarpati (63 and 75). See also Kamba-Rdmdyana^ Ki^kinda^ ‘Nada- 
vitta Patalam’, st. 26*8. 

® Devapdni is not a celestial song but a song sung in honour of the God, 
Devapdni is of two kinds : perumdevafdni and iirudevapdni, 

124 The Silappadikaram [VL 44 

thou wilt see ; The kodukotti,^ danced by 5 iva, Uma 
keeping time on one side, on the burial-ground where 
Barati (Kali), danced with faultless rhythm and avoiding 
wrong time-measures, when the big fire-tipped arrow 
obeyed His command to burn the three cities (of the 
Asuras) at the request of the Devas ; 

44-51 ‘The pandaranga^ dance which Siva, in the form of 
Barati, displayed before the four -faced Brahma standing 
in His chariot ; 

‘The alliyam^ dance performed by the dark-hued 
Visnu (anjanavannan) after disposing of the treacherous 
devices of Kamsa 

‘The mallu dance performed (by the same deity) after 
the destruction of the Asura (Bana) ;* 

‘The tudi dance (of Subrahmanya) in the midst of the 
sea, which itself served as the dancing-hall, following the 
destruction of the demon Sura’ who hid himself there ; 

^ Kodum^hotti is the original word according to Naccinarkkiniyar. See 
Kali.^ ‘Kadavul’. For an actual description of the dance see canto xxviii, 
11. 67-75. The translator has not been able to find parallels from the Sanskrit 
and other works corroborating all the eleven kinds of dancing mentioned here. 

^ Pdn^aranga is again a dance attributed to Siva. 

® Bdrati-arangam^ the place where Barati (Sarasvati) or Baravi danced. 

The alliya dance is said to be one among the ten dances engaged in by 

* Kamsa, the uncle of wanted to kill the latter by means of a 

number of villainous guiles. One of them was to send an Asura follower of 
his in the guise of an elephant by name KuvalayapTda. Krsna found it out, 
and killed him. See Bhdga. Pur., Bk. X, ch. 43, st. 2-15. See also Fz5. 
Pur., Bk. V, ch. 20. 

® Bana was an Asura with a thousand arms. He was the son of Bali 
and Kdtara. His capital was called Sonitapuram. He had a daughter Usa. 
Aniruddha, son of Pradyumna and grandson of Krsna, carried her away. 
Hence Bana had him imprisoned. Krsna went to his grandson’s rescue, and 
chopped off Sana’s thousand hands. See Bhdga. Pur,, Bk. X, ch. 62 and 63. 
Cf. Cuddmani. 

^ This refers to the legend of the killing of the Asura Surapadma by 
Subrahmanya. Even today this festival is celebrated in all Siva temples in 
connexion with what is known as Skandasasti, the sixth day in the dark-half 
of the month of Kartikai. For details of the legend see Kandapurdnam, § 
SutapanmanvadaL The reference is to the ‘war-dance of triumph on the 
heaving wave-platform of the oceanic stage, to the accompaniment cf tbc 
rgttle of his drum (tudi)\ 

VI. 52] Kadaladukadai 125 

‘The kudai^ (umbrella-dance) danced by (Subrah- 52-53 
manya) lowering the umbrella before the Asuras who 
gave up their arms in great distress ; 

‘The kudam (pot-dance)^ exhibited by Visnu (of the 54-55 
world-measuring stride) after walking through the streets 
of Banasura’s extensive city ; 

‘The pedi^ danced by Kama (Cupid) who changed his 56-57 
male form to that of an hermaphrodite ; 

‘The mamkkdl dance of Mayaval (Durga)‘ 'vhen She 58-59 
could not stand the wily deeds of the cruel Asuras ; 

‘The pavai dance^ of Laksmi when the Asuras clad in 60-61 
warlike attire ceased (from battle) ; 

‘And the kadayam dance® of lady Indrani standing in 62-63 
the field on the northern gate (of Bana’s city). 

‘Thou wilt see, my dear, the above-named eleven 64-67 

^ It is not possible to trace this legend. To venture a conjecture, the 
reference is to the greatest victory of the baby Subrahmanya, six days old, over 
the great Tarakasura and his satellites, a match for Vi?nu, Indra and other 
Gods. See Matsya Purdna, ch. 160. It is said that Subrahmanya ‘screened 
his face with a parasol, and played in exultant derision the kudaikkuttu or 
the umbrella-dance’. This is sometimes performed during temple processions 
when *the God’s umbrella-bearer cuts some capers with his unwieldy parasol; 
but the kdva 4 ikku.ttu is a greater favourite in these days in Murugan’s wor- 
ship and festivities’. T. A. S. Vol. II, p. 185. Cf. Nighantu, 14th ed., 
p. 179. For the sculptured figures representing the two varieties called the 
kudaikkuttu and the kdva 4 ikkutiu, see the two Yali panels flanking the 
entrance of the sanctum of the Adbhuta-Narayana temple at Tirukkadaittannain 
(Chenganachery Taluk). T.4.5., Vol. 11, p. 187. 

® This variety of dancing also has no counterpart in the Sanskrit Nd\ya 
treatises. ‘Its origin has to be traced to the purely pastoral pursuits of its 
votaries, the shepherds, who eventually came to consider it as one of the three 
favourite dances of the God Visnu in his special manifestation as Gopala, the 
Divine Shepherd.’ The VaivSnava Alvars refer to this (see Peridlvdr Tirumoliy 
Ndcctydr Ttrumoli^ etc.). It is popular even now in the uriyadi festival in 
commemoration of the sports of the baby Krsna. The reference in the text 
is to the occasion of the defeat of Banasura in his capital of Sonitapura 
(Sdnagaram). Cf. the account in the Ttruvarangakkalamhakam. 

® For the pcdi dance, see Mam,, canto iii, I. 125. 

■* Durga is otherwise known as Mahisasuramardani. See also canto xii, 
n. 65-6. 

® See Mani.y canto iii, 11. ii6f. 

« It is rather difficult to identify this incident. The Tamil name for 
Indrani is Ayirani, 

126 The Silappadikaram [VI. 68 

dances and the songs appropriate to them, acted and sung 
by the respective dancers with suitable garments and 
gestures, and in erect as well as bending postures, accord- 
ing to the established conventions. 

68-71 ‘This is Madavi, descended from the line of the great 
Madavi mentioned by me when we were in the grove 
rich with the pollen of sweet flowers.’ Thus said the 
highly distinguished Vidyadara entranced by the whole 

72-75 Kovalan, who was in the state of tidal (love-quarrel), 
was sorry to see the end of that Indra festival, which 
consisted of dancing in different kinds of attire, accom- 
panied by the chiming of anklets, and which had been 
witnessed incognito by the denizens of Heaven. 

76-98 To please him (so that his dejection might not gall 
him further), she (Madavi) bathed her fragrant black hair, 
soft as flowers, till it shone, in the perfumed oil prepared by 
mixing up ten kinds of astringents, five spices, and thirty- 
two herbs soaked in water ; she dried it in fuming incense, 
and perfumed the different plaits,^ with the thick paste of 
the musk-deer. She adorned her little feet, reddened by 
dye, by wearing choice rings on her fair and slender 

toes, and on her ankles becoming ornaments known as 
pariyakam, nupuram, padagam, sadangai, and ariyakam.^ 
She put ornaments on her rounded thighs. Over her waist 
was a girdle made of thirty-two strands of big pearls worn 
over a blue cloth embroidered with the figures of flowers. 
Round her upper arms she had armlets studded with 
pearls together with attractive bangles of precious stones 
(kamar-kandikai). Round her soft-haired wrists , were 

^ One of the many references to show that five plaits of hair were gene- 
rally worn by Tamil ladies, especially when they w^ere young. 

® Plli is in use even today, and it is considered inauspicious if it is not 
worn by a girl on her marriage. 

® Here note the luxurious life led by the ancient Tamils. Some of the 
ornaments and finery are mentioned. These have been examined by S. Soma* 
sundara Desikar in a contribution to Kalainiagal^ VoL I, pp. 284-8. 

VI. 99 ] Kadaladukadai 1:37 

beautiful bracelets (ciidagam) in which was set the costli- 
est gem in front with diamonds all round, gold bangles, 
bangles of nine gems (pariyakam), conch bangles, and 
bangles of coral. On to her tiny fingers, red as the kdntal 
flower, so as to hide them, she slipped a ring bent into the 
shape of an open-mouthed fish, and a highly brilliant and 
lustrous ring of gems, and a round ring glittering with 
rubies and brilliant diamonds.^ 

Her delicate and beautiful neck was adorned with 
a chain necklace called nuntotar, with a fine string of 
exquisite workmanship and with a garland. Added to 
these was a string of ornamental gems held by a clasp, 
which covered the small nape of her neck.^ 

A pair of ear-rings, in which emeralds alternated with 
diamonds, glittered in her beautiful ears. In her dark 
tresses becoming head-ornaments such as daivavutti (also 
Mdevt), valampuri (also talaippdlai, sea-conch), toyyaham 
and pullaham were set.^ She (Madavi) gave Kovalan the 
happiness of union and of tidal, and stayed in her excellent 
nuptial chamber. 

It was the , full moon day in that ancient awe- 
inspiring city. When she saw people in search of 
amusement hurrying to the beach, fragrant with the 
tdlai, Madavi became eager to follow them- At that 
time the swan uttered its cry from lotuses in the tanks ; 
cocks sent out their clarion call betokening the approach 
of the dawn ; Venus'^ shone on high, and darkness died 

Kovalan wore sparkling jewels on his garlanded 
chest, and like the prodigal cloud, mounted his mule. 

^ This and the following lines show the number and variety of jewels and 
clothes in vogue in those ancient days. Some of them have now gone oui 
of use. 

® Pinxali is the term used by the commentators in this connexiofi. 

® This is said to a head ornament of two sections called tenpalli and 

*Tam., velji; Sans., sukra. 



II I-I7 



The Silappadikaram [VI. 128 

while the deer-eyed Madavi got into her chariot (vai- 
yam).^ They passed through the bazaar street beautified 
by towering mansions in which rich merchandise was 
stored in a million bundles. Here the beautiful lamps 
were glittering and some were decked with flowers. 
Maidens (daHyar) everywhere scattered flowers,^ tender 
grass (arugu), and paddy, as being auspicious, and shone 
in their jewels. In this street^ the Goddess Laksmi 
seemed to dwell, and on its two sides people were 
passing irregularly. 

128-144 They then entered into the central highway of the city‘ 
rich with the wealth of sea-borne goods and reached the 
ceri regions on the seashore where the flags on high 
seemed to say : Tn these stretches of white sand can be 
seen different kinds of goods brought in ships by foreign 
merchants, who have left their native homes and settled 
here.’ There were burning the lamps of those who sold 
dyes, sandals, flowers, scents, and all varieties of sweets, 
the lamps of dexterous goldsmiths, the lamps of those who, 
sitting in a row, sold pittu, the black broad lamps placed 
on lamp-stands by the sellers of muffins, the lamps in 
front of the miscellaneous shops of girl- vendors, the lamps 
of fishmongers glimmering here and there, beacon-lights 
erected to guide ships on the seashore,'' lamps taken out to 
sea by fishermen in their boats as they went a-fishing with 

^ Ihis vehicle may be kolldvandi, a cart drawn by bullocks, or kuddrap- 
a cart with a hooded top. The editor of the text notes in this connexion 
that in the Malainadu (p. 182), the vehicle is known as kdlarvandi. From this 
desciiption of Kovalan riding a mule, and Madavi a vehicle drawn by 
bullocks, we have to infer that these were used by persons of rank in the 
early centuries of the Christian era. The use of horses for vehicles had not 
come into practice. 

The habit of ladies both in the evening and early morning. Whether 
I}angd-A<JigaI by the term dd&iyar means prostitutes, cannot be said. 

A description of the bazaar and other streets in Puhar before daybreak. 

* This is maruvurppdkkam and the bazaar street was in paitinappak- 
ham. ** 

This bears testimony to the existence of lighthouses and a large volume 
of trade by sea. 


VI. 145] 


nets, nightlong lights set up by foreigners’’ speaking 
different languages, and finally the lamps lit by the watch- 
men of (the warehouses containing) valuable merchandise. 

The illumination of all these lights which were beyond I45~5° 
counting, was so great that the seashore^ with its aloe 
hedges appeared more beautiful than the cultivated tracts 
with their fragrant lotus-ridges ; even a small mustard-seed 
could be seen if it lay on the fine sands stretched out like 
fine flour. 

Thither came creeper-like Madavi with a group of her I5i“4 
playmates. There lay in repose ships which were filled 
with countless legions of hill-produce and sea-produce.® 

In one place on the seaside were grouped together 155-6 
princes and their retinue, as also merchant princes and 
their confidantes ; there were again other groups of 
maidens skilled in dance and song, in curtained enclosures. 

Their multi-coloured clothes and many-sounding tongues* 
resembled the uproar inevitable on the festive occasion 
when king Karikala,® whose great fame reached the 
celestial world, celebrated the first freshes in the Kaveri, 
and came to be mingled with the unceasing tumult caused 

^ This testifies to the custom of lighting the streets. See Perumpdnd.j 
11. 349-51 ; Mani.^ canto i, 1. i6 ; Pura 77 i., st. 6o. 

® Here follows a fine description of the beach in the evening. 

® This again testifies to the rich sea-borne trade. 

^ See Ahafu.y st. 376. 

® canto vii, 1. 4. This shows that some festivity was connected with 

the first freshes. It may be noted in passing that the C5la king, Karikfda 
was the originator of the festival of the first freshes of the Kaveri. This is 
quite in keeping with the statement of the Pattbjappdlai that he was the foun- 
der of the capital Kaveripattinam. Being Kavirinadan or the Lord of the 
Kflveri tracts, it is but natural that Karikala was impelled by desire to insti- 
tute a festival for the great service done by the river especially to the Cola- 
desa. A modern relic of this ancient festival is what is known as the padinet- 
tdmpemkku, literally freshes on the 18th day of the month of Adi- It is a 
social function in which children, ladies and others take part. On the evening 
of that day, food oi different kinds is taken to the riverside and after prayers 
to the river for its continual flow, the members of the family partake of the 
food. The children float old books, cadjan leaves, and sometimes manuscripts 
of rare books in the floods, and swim in the water and enjoy themselves 
in different ways. 



The Silappadikaram [VI. i66 

by men and women of the four castes crowding on the 
narrow place where the great river Kaveri joined the sea. 

166-75 In the midst of that tumult the long-eyed Madavi, soft 
as a flower, took the pleasure-giving tuneful-stnnged lute 
from the hands of the fatigued Vasantamala. There, on a 
white-legged couch with a canopy of picturesque paint- 
ings,^ surrounded by a screen set on the newly-spread 
sands in the shade of a punnai tree standing in the wide 
expanse enclosed by the flowering kaidai which swept 
away the foulness of the (fish-smelling) sea, Madavi enjoy- 
ed the company of Kovalan. 

^ Further evideace of the art of painting in the Tamilnadu. 

Canto VII 




After worshipping' with her hands Madavi removed the 
lute faultless in respect of pattar,^ kodu,^ ani and strings, 
from its fancy-coverings, its body adorned with flowers, 
which looked like a beauteous bride with her black eyes 
darkened with collyrium. And she began to produce its 
eight different sounds, pannal, parivattanai, draidal, tai- 
varal, the majestic selavu, vilaiydttu, kaiyiil, and the 
sweet kurumpokku, in order to satisfy herself as to their 
correctness. Her lustrous little fingers ornamented with 
ruby rings manipulating the different strings resembled a 
hive of humming-bees. Next she tested by ear the eight 
different tunes^, vdrdal, vadittal, undal, uraldal, the fair 
uruttal, teruUal, allal, and the beautiful paUadai. Passing 
the instrument to Kovalan’s outstretched hand, she said, 
‘It is not my object to command. Please let me know the 
talam/ He too began playing odes to the Kaveri and 
songs appropriate to the seashore {hdnalvartf to the great 
delight of Madavi. 

^ The Jivakacintdmam styles these four faults as diseases of the vina 

(st. 1720). 

® Parimelalagar speaks of these isai as pdtaltoUl (duties), Rural, st. 573, 
and Naccinarkkiniyar on the Jlvakacintdmani (st. 657) speaks of them as 
kalaittolil. What these eight terms mean are explained in extenso by 


® See the commentary of Arumpadavuraiasiriyar; also Potunar, I. 23, 
where four of these eight tunes are mentioned. 

* Kadarkdnal-varippdni is of two kinds : daivamsuttiya-varippatpu and 

fnahhalaUsuttiya-varippdtpu, Of these two the former consists of hupaicceyyul 

and vdracceyyuh 

132 The Silappadikaram [VII. 2 


2 ‘Hail to thee, Kaveri ! Even if our Cola king, whose 
garlanded parasol is as white as the moon, extends his 
righteous sceptre far and weds the Ganges,^ thou wilt not 
sulk. I have learnt, O fish-eyed one, that not sulking, 
even though he weds the Ganges, is the supreme virtue of 
chaste ladies. Hail to thee, Kaveri ! 

3 ‘ If our king, whose garlanded umbrella is white and 
stable, extends his unbending sceptre far, weds Kanni 
(Kanyakumari), O Kaveri ! thou wilt not sulk. Hail to 
thee ! I have learnt that not sulking, fish-eyed Kaveri, 
even if he weds Kanyakumari, is the mighty virtue of 
ever-chaste ladies. Live long, O Kaveri ! 

4 ‘Hail to thee, Kaveri ! Thou walkedst (flowed) along, 
listening to the songs of the ploughmen, the resonance of 
the sluices, the roar of the breaking waters, and the noise 
of the festive crowd celebrating thy freshes.® All this flow 
of thine, along with the din of merrymaking, is expressive 
of the prosperity of our king, who possesses soldiers with 
unbridled tongues. Hail to thee, Kaveri !’ 


5 ‘How can we innocent people understand, sir, that 

^ Stanzas 2-4 go by the name of drriivart^ literally an ode to a river, 

® The implication is that the Cola king’s sway, as has been already 

said, extended up to the Ganges tracts in the north. 

® The southern limit of the C 5 Ia kingdom was Kanyakumari, the Cape 

Comorin of modern days. 

* This points to the fertility of the .soil and testifies to the irrigational 

works on the Kaveri tracts. Cf. Paljinappdlaiy II. 277-91 ; also / 1 . 5 . 5 ./., 
Vol. IV, p. 204 ff. *The Leyden Grant*. 

* The first freshes of the year in the Kaveri were the occasion of a 
carnival in which all classes of people from the king down to the peasant 
took a leading part. Tamil tradition is that Karikala was the originator of 
this festival. .See p, 129, supra. 

^ Stanzas 5-7 are a glowing description of the richness and simplicity 
of the city of Puhar. These words are spoken by the heroine’s maid to her 
mistress’s lover, who has come with a present in his hand. The theme (tiirai) 
of these stanzas is said to be varaivu-kaddyavai. The idea is that the maid 
pretends to refuse presents and seems to insist on a regular marriage. 


VIL 6] 


unrighteous men again and again show the sea-god^ to 
our lady with long eyes like dark flowers, and make pious 
vows only to be broken. Our city is Puhar where the 
water-lily opens its blossoms at the sight of white conch 
bracelets and pearls, mistaking them for the moon and 
constellations of stars which spread their white rays. 

‘How can we know, sir, of those lovers, who approach 6 
us on this beach from behind, with presents in their hands, 
and then turn out to be strangers expecting us to beg of 
them? Our home is Puhar where the bee is bewildered, 
unable to distinguish the (blue) eyes of maidens from two 
blue flowers blooming in the reflection of the moon (on 
the waters). 

‘Our city, sir, is Puhar where the sounding conch is 7 
buffeted by the big dashing waves and is driven ashore and 
ruins our maidens’ sand-castles.^ These maidens, the 
flowers in whose hair are loosened and sway about, grow 
angry, and plucking the water-lilies from their garlands with 
tender fingers they throw them at the conch. Passers-by 
seeing these (flowers scattered on the ground) think they 
are observing eyes.’ 


‘To wipe out the appearance of the ploughed sands in 8 
which the conches lay buried, the heavily-flowering 
punnai had scattered its pollen-laden flowers on that sea- 
shore. The straight fish-shaped eyes in her full-moon 
face have caused love sickness incurable by medicine, but 
curable by the lady’s soft and yellow-spotted breasts.® 

‘ Pretending^^ to drive away the birds hovering around 9 

^ The sea-god described is Varuna. According to Sanskrit tradition he is 
the Lord of all waters, and figures prominently in the Vedic pantheon. 

® One of the pastimes of the girls in the littoral tracts. 

® This stanza suggests that this is the only medicine for curing love- 
sickness. These words are spoken by the lover’s companion who sees signs 
of love in the heroine. Cf. infra st, 45. 

^ This and the following stanza go by the name of kanalvari. 

134 The Silappadikaram [VII. lo 

the foul-smelling dried fish on the beach, a maid holds in 
her hands fragrant jasmine from a young plant, with 
swarms of bees roaming about her. She is a goddess who 
dwells there in the sweet-smelling grove of flowers. Had 
I known of the existence of this goddess^ there, I would 
not have come. 

lO ‘In the open yard before fishermen’s huts where their 
nets are dried. Death, ^ assuming the form of a maiden with 
long lance-like eyes, dwells on the foreshore where the 
waves beat the sands. There, with a wreath of flowers 
in her hand, she guards the fish dried for sale. Had I 
known that she was here, I would not have come at all.’ 
(So said the lover.) 


11 ‘Behold ! This is the moon, this perfected picture of the 
face in which eyes have been painted like fish, brows 
like a bow and curls of hair like clouds in which Cupid’s 
power is revealed. O tell me, has the moon left the wide 
sky in fear of the serpent (Rahu)"* and sought shelter in 
this little hamlet where fishermen dwell? 

12 ‘Behold! Her eyes resembling a blood-stained lance® 
glance from side to side, to view the conch-shells cast on 
the shore. They are fierce Death. Has fierce Death 
assumed the form of a graceful young damsel, and come 
to live in this little village on the seashore? 

^ The goddess is the lady-love herself. 

* For a description of Death in a maiden’s guise, see Tjrukktiral^ st. 1083, 
and Kalittogai^ st. 56, 1. 9. 

^ Stanzas 11-13 are put in the mouth of the lover who, on seeing his 
lady-love in front of him, rapturously breaks forth into descriptions of her. 

^ Rahu is an evil planet like Ketu. Legend has it that Rahu has 
only a head, while Ketu has only a body and possesses no face. Both are 
supposed to cause eclipses according to the mythical account transmitted by 
the Purdnas, 

* Red in the eyes of ladies is a sign of their youthful love. Hence the 
eye is compared to a blood-stained lance. The eye here stands for the 
person possessing such eyes, 


VIL 13] 


‘Behold ! This is the goddess who drives away birds 13 
from where the fish are spread to dry and who causes dire 
sickness to those who gaze at her. Has that goddess 
come to the cool seaside thick with hare-leaf {atumhu) in 
the form of a damsel with five plaits of hair.?’^ 


‘The fragrant flowers of this grove, the fresh sweet 14 
smell of these spreading sands, the faultless words of this 
damsel, her big youthful breasts, her face resembling the 
full moon, her bow-like curved brows, and her lightning 
waist that baffles the painter’s brush it is these that have 
caused distress to me. 

‘This open seashore with its dashing billows, this stretch 15 
of shining sand, these flowers that send forth their sweet 
scents, this pleasant thick grove, the fragrance-spreading 
tresses, this face like the moon, and this pair of carp-like 
eyes ; all these have caused distress to me. 

‘This beach where shells are scattered in heaps, this 16 
fine grove which charges the air with its fragrance, these 
flowers that scatter their soft petals, these haunts where 
she moves about alone, her young teeth which look like 
new-sprouting shoots (from the soil), her face that vies 
with the full moon, and her two youthful breasts ; it is 
these that have caused distress to me.’ 


‘Your elder brothers go out into the sea and live 17 
by killing living things (fish) ; you, on the other hand, 
enter into my body and live by killing me. Pray do 
not lose your slender waist which is in danger of being 

^ Another reference to the hair being dressed in five plaits. 

2 Stanzas 14-16 are put into the mouth of the hero as addressing his 

^ Another reference to show that the art of painting had been developed to 
a large extent in the second century a.d. 

* gtanzas 17-19 are the words of the hero addressing the heroine^ 

136 The Silappadikaram [VII. i8 

overwhelmed by the weight of your beauteous and well- 
moulded breasts.^ 

1 8 ‘Your father kills the living things (of the sea by catch- 
ing them) in the cruel meshes of his net.^ You, on the 
other hand, kill lives by catching them in the net of your 
long eyes. Pray do not lose your lightning-like waist, 
which is at the point of breaking, owing to the weight of 
your breasts decked with pearl-strings. 

19 ‘By means of swift boats, your elder brothers kill lives 
(fish). You kill lives, with your curved brows. Your 
fame consists in witnessing the distress you cause in 
others. Pray do not lose your slender waist which faints 
under the weight of your breasts T® 

A gain‘d 

20 ‘The red eyes of the damsel who holds the coral pestle 
in her hand and pounds the white pearls in the mortar,® the 
red eyes of her who pounds white pearls are not lilies, 
for, O, they are so cruel ! 

21 ‘The red eyes of the damsel w’ho walks the walk of a 
swan in the shade of the punnai where the waves dash 
against the foul-smelling shore, the red eyes of her who 
walks the walk of a swan are frightful ; verily they are 
death, death ! 

22 ‘The red eyes of the damsel who holds honey-laden 
violets in her hand and scares away the birds that hover 
around the dried fish, the red eyes of her who scares away 

^ The term mital in the text means literally ‘of abounding strength’. 

2 The eyes and the waist of the lady are compared respectively to the 
meshes of a net and to lightning. 

® In these three stanzas 17-19 the hero makes a passionate appeal to the 
heroine to yield and to subject him to no more uncertainty. 

^ Stanzas 20-23 are put into the mouth of the hero’s companion when 
he hears his words of passion. 

* See below, canto xxix, *ValIaipp 5 ttu’, I. 6, The coral pestle and the 
pearl powders seem to confirm that the city was npted for abundant pearls 
and coral. 


VII. 23] 


the birds are not innocent darts ; verily they are so cruel, 
cruel P 


‘O foolish swan ! Do not go near her, do not go ; your 23 
gait cannot rival hers. O foolish swan ! do not go near 
her, do not go ; your gait cannot rival hers. O foolish 
swan ! do not approach her, who roams about stirring the 
waters of the sea as the waves fall one after another (on 
the shore), for your gait cannot rival hers. Do not go.’ 

The Narrative 

At that time, Madavi of the long beautiful eyes, who 24 
listened to the sea-song (of Kovalan), feeling that his song 
was indicative of a change of attitude on his part, took the 
lute from him pretending that she was pleased though 
(really) sulking. Then she began to play, purposefully, an 
ode to the sea so fine that the goddess Earth wondered at 
her skill ; and all people were in ecstasy when they heard 
her sweet voice appropriately accompanying the notes of 
the lute. 


‘Hail to thee, Kaveri ! clothing thyself in a garb of fair ^5 
flowers where bees cluster murmuring their songs, thou 
walkedst along with swaying steps, with carp-like dark 
eyes. All this walk of thine, with thy carp-like dark eyes, 
is, I know, due to thy husband’s righteous sceptre which 
does not deviate from the right path.® Hail to thee, 
Kaveri ! 

^ A relic of the primitive concept of calling the Earth Mother and Goddess. 

® Stanzas 25-27 go by the name of arzuvari or a kind of ancient song 
to the river. Here the righteous rule of the Cola king and the fertility of 
his kingdom are in evidence, the latter mostly due to the Kaveri, Thus we 
find that the glorification of the Kaveri is an important theme in all early 
Tamil poetry in general and of the Silappadikdmm in particular. 

® These are the primary duties of a righteous monarch. The Sanskrit 
term pdlanam or paripdlanam connotes the idea that protection of subjects is 
the chief duty of a king. See, for example, Rdindyana, Bk. II, ch. 106, st. 

138 The Silappadikaram [VII. 26 

26 ‘Hail to thee, Kaveri ! When thou movedst along 
and thy lovely garland swayed, the peacock strutted along 
the flowery grove, and the koel sent forth its mirthful 
notes ; I have learnt that this walk, with thy lovely gar- 
land moving, is attributable to the might of thy husband’s 
frightful lance. Hail to thee, Kaveri ! 

27 ‘As a mother tends her babe so thou wilt not cease 
from everlasting help to the fertile country of him (our 
king) who is prosperous to the end of ail time. This en- 
during help which thou renderest unceasingly is attribut- 
able to the grace of our king of the solar race, who, with 
his wheel of righteousness, confers protection on all.^ 
Hail to thee, Kaveri !’ 


28 ‘O sir, you come every day, like the God of love,^ and 
ask us to receive pearls, which are no match for the bright 
teeth shining between the coral lips of our lady whose face 
is like the full moon. Our city is Puhar where the surg- 
ing ocean, like a dealer, exchanges lustrous pearls for 
wreaths of flowers. 

29 ‘Sir, these bracelets of the fair-armed ladies, the 
damsels of sturdy fishermen, make known (by becoming 
loose)® that they have been married in secret.'^ We are 
innocent. How can we understand all this.^ Our city is 
Puhar where the water-lily, with the murmuring bee in- 
side, blossoms at the sight of the swan resting in the midst 
of the flower-laden branches of the long punnai, imagining 
them to be the full moon and stars. 

30 ‘How can we know, sir, in these regions where wine 
overcomes the consumer while the consumption cannot be 

^ This may also refer to the impartiality of the king. 

® The theme of stanzas 28-30 is the glory of Puhar, the quondam capital 
of the C51as. 

® See in this connexion KaUttogaiy ‘Kurinji’, st. 17, 11. 8-11. 

* It is a reference to the kalavu system of marriage. The term marai 
ip the text is significant, 


VII. 31] 


concealed, the fact that you cause sickness, incurable by 
any medicine, to ladies.^ Our city is Puhar where, when 
the waves destroy the houses of sand, sharp javelin-like 
eyes^ in their full-moon faces shed tears of sorrow. Then 
gathering handfuls of sand we throw them against the 
waves imagining that the sea will be filled up. 


‘Although he saw^ the male crab with the female crab 31 
and saw me also in this fair park thick with its clusters of 
flowers, the lord of the maritime tract, taking leave of his 
senses, deserted us of the five plaits. O girl with curly 
hair, I do not know his reason. 

‘Has^ he taken with him his sympathy and his horse- 32 
chariot, and gone without thinking of us ? O fair-blossom- 
ed hare-leaf creepers ! O swans ! Let him abandon us. 

Yet shall we not forget him who has forgotten us. 

‘O neydal flower laden with honey like my weeping 33 
eyes at the distressing nightfall, thou feelest no trouble but 
dost sleep. In thy dreams dost thou see my hard-hearted 
(lover) as he approaches this seaside ? 

‘When he dashed along with the speed of birds in his 34 
chariot drawn by horses, thou ruinedst the route wherever 
he went (his path), O clear waters of the sea. What 
can I do, O clear waters of the sea? Thou hast become 
at one with those who are spreading scandal around me 
here. What shall I do? Thou dost not know my woes. 

‘O waves ! The ruts caused by the passing of the 35 
strong, big chariot of my perfect lover were ruined. 

^ The idea here is that waves rise like sharp javelins as if to meet the 
moon in the sky and dash against the sporting-ground of these fisher-maids. 
Thinking foolishly that they could arrest the progress of the waters, they 
throw sand into the deep as if to fill up the sea. 

^ Stanza 31 describes the feelings of the heroine and shows her inability to 
gauge the love of her lord. 

® Stanzas 32-36 represent the lament of the heroine at the neglect and 
indifference of her lover. She aimlessly addresses the hare-leaf, the neydc^l 
flower^ the waves, the grove, and the swan. 

140 The Silappadikaram [VII. 36 

O cool grove ! O swan, sporting with thy mate ! O wet 
shore ! Will not you all tell my lover that (his deed) is 
not just? 

36 ‘Bless you, O waves! You destroyed the ruts caused 
by the wheels of my perfect lover’s strong, big chariot. 
You destroyed the ruts on the way. At the same time 
you pretended to be a friend of mine. Hail, you waves I 
You are no friend.’ 


37 ‘O lord of the sea, whose waves dash as far as the 
paddy fields, enrobed in beautiful corals and decked with 
excellent ornaments made of well-formed pearls I The 
fresh wounds caused in the punnai park by the shafts of 
Cupid, who owns the flag of the makara fish, cover her 
body and make her unrecognizable ; but if her mother 
sees her thus, what shall I do ? 

38 ‘O lord of the maritime tract, whose waves, smiling 
with their pearl-like teeth and opening their coral lips, 
spread over the courtyard where the fishermen’s nets are 
(left for drying), what shall I do if her mother, seeing that 
this innocent damsel has changed her colour to that of the 
ptra flower that blossoms during winter, consults the deity^ 
and finds out who did this cruel act ? 

39 ‘O lord of the maritime tract, whose waves move 
about to destroy the fishy smell of the beach and penetrate 
the cool grove spreading it with the fragrance of different 
fallen flowers,’* my lady suffers mental anguish but the 
cause of her illness is not known. If this unknown disease 

^ Stanzas 37"39 have for their theme the varaivu-kaddviyavai. These 
are the words of the maid who is afraid of the discovery of signs of love in 
her mistress by the latter’s mother. Anxious to see her wedded the maid 
thus addresses the lover. 

® This points to the custom of consulting deities to rectify wrongs when- 
ever trouble occurs. 

® The reference is to old and withered flowers th?it have fallen down 
from the tree. 

VII. 40] Kanalvari 141 

is detected by her mother who will be pained at it, what 
shall I do?’ 


‘The evening darkness has spread everywhere. The 40 
Day-malcer (the sun) has disappeared. My eyes shed 
tears of sorrow from which it is impossible to recover. O 
fair one whose locks of hair are decked with open-petalled 
flowers ! Is this maddening, fiery twilight, which loosens 
my bangles,^ found in the country of the deserter? 

‘The sun has disappeared. Thick darkness has spread 41 
everywhere. Collyrium-eyes, that look like opening 
flowers, shed tears of sorrow. O fair one whose face 
looks like the young moon ! Is this maddening twilight, 
which comes vomiting the moon and devouring the sun,'’ 
found in that country to which he has gone? 

‘The birds have stopped singing. The Lord of the 42 
Day has disappeared. These long eyes suffer from the 
pain of shedding unceasing tears. O fair one whose 
tresses contain blossoming flower-buds ! Is this madden- 
ing twilight which attacks my life,"* found in the country 
of the deserter?’ 


‘Someone came to the kaidai fence through the swamps 43 
(near the sea) and spoiled our sport. He who went away 

^ Stan7as 40-42 represent the distress of the heroine at eventide when she 
thinks of the country in which her lover has tarried. She addresses her 

® The idea is that maidens feel the separation of their lovers keenly when 
night sets in, so that their bodies grow thin and their bangles hang loose- 

3 The idea is that the sun has set and the moon has risen. 

** The heroine coftsiders evening her cruel enemy. 

® Stanzas 43“45 again the words of the maid to her lady. In Tamil 
love poetry the maid sometimes identifies herself so closely with the heroine 
that she speaks for the heroine. Here is an open declaration of her abiding 
faith in the lover who has deserted her, as she thinks, for the time being 
only. Alternatively these stanzas may be interpreted in another way. The 
first two lines of each of these three stanzas can be taken as the words of 
the maid and the next two lines as the words of the heroine in reply. 

142 The Silappadikaram [VII. 44 

spoiling our sport, would not leave my love-stricken 

44 ‘Through the swamps, fenced by the park, close to 
the sea, someone came and stood before us saying “Make 
me pleased”. He who stood before us saying “Make me 
pleased” could not be excluded from our deer-like glances. 

45 ‘Seeing the swan playing with its mate, one stood 
looking on all yesterday. He, who stood looking on 
yesterday, would not leave (our minds) even as the gold- 
tinted moles^ cannot leave our body.’ 


46 ‘Come not here, O crane ! Come not near our park. 
Come not here, O crane, come not near our park ; for you 
will not speak of my present love-sickness to my lord of 
the maritime tract. Come not, O crane ! Do not approach 
our park.’ 


47 Singing thus in the mode in which Kovalan had sung, 
the beautiful damsel (Madavi) again exhibited with her 
rosy little fingers the charm of the sevvalippalai^ in which 
the kaikkalai’’ was joined with kural. She sang in suitable 
strains a new melody-type (pan). 


4$ ‘O evening, during that charming vilarippdlai^ peculiar 
to the residents of the maritime tract, you made blended 

^ ‘Yellow spreading spots on the body of women, regarded as beautiful’ 
— Tamil Lexicon. 

® This address to the crane in stanza 46 represents the lament of the 
lovesick heroine. 

^ ‘A secondary melody-type of the palai class ’ — Tamil Lexicon. 

* ‘Poem in five viruttam verses of unreciprocated love’ — ibid. This song 
shows that her love is one-sided and not reciprocated by the other party. 

* The three stanzas 48-50 represent the passionate outburst of the heroine 
at the approach of the evening. Cf. stanzas 40-2 supra. 

® Vilari is a descending musical scale. 

’ lU is the pancamasvaram and the sixth kaikilai is its inimical string. 
Instead of playing on the ili string the fingers automatically went to the 
enemy-string at thaf time, due to illusion of the mind. 


VIL 49] 


with ktlai (kaikkilai). O evening, even as you made ili 
join with kilai, you are able to take away my life. Please 
yourself. May you live long ! 

'O evening, you go to take away the life of people 49 
who live dolefully seeking solace in the greatly comforting 
parting-words of their separated lovers. If you thus besiege 
them, O evening, you will be the invading king from 
outside besieging the fortress of the enemy -king. ^ Is it 

not so.^ 

‘O maddening twilight, you came with the setting of 50 
the Lord of the Day, augmenting my distress, when the • 
world began to close its eyes. If you are the maddening 
twilight, and if he be my wedded lord, the world has 
become impoverished indeed.^ Bless thee, maddening 
twilight r 


‘O god of the sea, we worship your lotus -feet. At 51 

this cruel maddening, fiery twilight, our lover departed, 
without considering the effects of his vow made in this 
flowery park, with words removing all our mental pain. 
Please forgive his false vow.’ 

Hearing this, Kovalan said, ‘I sang the kdnalvari] but 52 
she, the cunning one combining several deceitful lies, sang 
with her paind upon someone else.’ Prompted by Fate 
which made the music of the lute its pretext, he slowly 
withdrew his hands from the embrace of his full-moon- 
faced lady-love, and said ‘Since the day has come to 

^ The reference is to the uUjnaiHnai and the noccittinai, and represents 
the monarch outside forcing an entry into the fortress and the defending king 
inside* (See Talk. *Porul.*, siitra 65.) 

® She believes that everybody in the world must feel alike at nightfall. 

® The lover has been separated for a long time. Knowing secretly that 
he had returned and was waiting for an opportunity to meet the heroine, the 
maid addresses the god of the sea so as to be heard by the lover. 

* Here the author introduces the theory of prdrahdhaharma, that the 
effects of our actions in a previous birth have to run their course, do what 
we will* 

144 The Silappadikaram [VII. 52 

a close, we shall make a move’. But she did not get up 
at once. After Kovalan had gone away with his retinue 
of servants, Madavi rose up, and silencing the group of 
maids who were making a noise in the grove filled with 
the pollen of flowers, she betook herself home, getting into 
her carriage, with a sad heart, unaccompanied by her 
lover, and saying 

‘May the garlanded white parasol of Sembiyan (Cola 
king), who with his fiery sword and his elephant with an 
ornamental plate on its face, makes all the princes of this 
vast world bow their heads, bring under its shadow the 
entire Cakravala^ mountain !’ 

^ A mythical range of mountains encircling the orb of the earth. 

Canto VIII 




The celebrated king Maran (Cupid) with his delightful 1-13 
friend Spring held sway over the fertile Tamil country, 
bounded in the north by the Tirupati hills^ sacred to Visnu, 
and in the south by the Kumari sea,^ having for its capitals 
high-towered Madura, Urandai® of great renown, awe- 
inspiring Vahji, and Puhar with its resounding waters. 

This approach of (Spring) was heralded by the ambassador, 
the South Wind, hailing from the fertile Podiyil hill sacred 
to the revered saint (Agastya). As if to announce the 
herald’s message, ‘Put on your garb, O ye regiments of 
the fish-bannered prince, befitting your respective ranks,’ 
the cuckoo, living in a grove rich in creepers, acted as 
the young trumpeter of Cupid’s army'* and sounded his 

Madavi of the long flower-like eyes who had returned 14-22 
alone, after her love-quarrel with Kovalan at the pleasure- 
park filled with open buds on the seashore, betook herself 
to her summer-retreat in a lofty upper story reaching the 
sky. That beautifully -adorned damsel decorated the 

^ The northern and southern limits of the Tamil country are furnished 
here. Once there was a river by name the Kumari, near the place which is 
now known as Cape Comorin. It has been swallowed by the sea. That the 
sea eroded into the interior as far as the river Pahruli is evident from this 
canto, 11 . 18-20 and corroborated by the Iraiyanar Ahapporul. 

^ The Kumari sea is compared to a young lady decked with bangles. It 
is to be noted here that the two capitals of the Colas are mentioned. 

® The Cola Perunarkilli was the king at this time at Urandai. Puhar 
was only the quondam capital. 

* Maran, the God of Love, had for his fourfold army the four capitals of 
the Tamil land, for his ally the Spring, for his ambassador the South Wind 
and as his royal herald, blowing the trumpet, the koel or cuckoo. 


146 The Silappadikaram [VIII. 23 

expanse of her breasts which were already smeared with 
kunkumum, with pearls of the southern sea and sandal- 
paste of the southern hills. These were the unexceptional 
tributes appropriate to the season^ which she offered with 
her own hands. 

23-26 Taking the .spotless lute in her grasp she began to sing 
a sweet song and fell into a languor which she overcame 
by assuming the padmasanam posture in the nine series of 
postures (viruttis).^ 

27-35 With her right hand on the bend of the vlna in the 
attitude of the paddhai and with her left hand in that part 
of the instrument known as the madagam, she produced 
by the skill of her technique the notes sempahai, drppu, 
kddam, and adirvu, avoiding discords. She thus played 
the series of fourteen tunes in the traditional mode, begin- 
ning with ulai and ending with kaikkilai carefully scruti- 
nizing the respective notes of the strings known as inai,‘‘ 
kilai,^ pahai'^ and naiptid In this way she sang with 
judgement to the accompaniment of the ili string. 

36-44 Later, in the same order, she sounded the fifth and the 
seventh strings beginning and ending with ulai, and after- 
wards commencing and ending with kural. She tested her 
skill in the four modes of ahanilai-marudam,^ puranilai- 
marudam, tnaruhiyal-marudam, and peruhiyal-marudam,^ 
keeping an eye upon the three hutis high, level and low 
and then began the tirappan born of the above-mentioned 
tunes. Soon she who looked like a flower -creeper was 

^ This shows that different kinds of fragrant pastes were used by lovers 
according to the season. 

^ Virutti is also known by another term, imppu^ explained by Adiyarkku- 
nallar from dramatic and other treatises. See Penunkadai^ ‘Narumadai’, 
11. 44-8. 

^ Cf. Jivakactntdmafji st, 716-9, comm, * The second string. 

^ The fifth string. 

® The sixth and the third strings. 

^ The fourth string. 

® This and the following two are supposed to have si.xteen strings. 

® This has thirty-two strings. The above are the four great classes of 
pan which is a melody-type. 


VIIL 45] 


overcome by languor when she set her mind to play the 
tune called venirpdni. 

She took up a garland formed by tying together cam- 45“55 
paka, madavi, tamdla, white jasmine, fragrant roots, and 
choice petals of the red lily intertwined with the white bent 
flowers of the ripe screw pine. On this she wrote, under 
the influence of Cupid who, single-handed, exercises his 
righteous sceptre over the vast world with his flower- 
arrows, and who is worshipped by the whole earth un- 
excepted, taking in her hand the long stalk of a flower and 
dipping it in the writing paste made of red lac and agar,^ 
as follows : — 

‘He who has come to rule the world is the youthful 56-63 
prince,^ Spring, who brings together the lovers and their 
chosen ones. The moon who has risen with the love- 
anguish that shows itself in the evening, also is not fault- 
less. Therefore whether they be lovers who had had union 
and departed and were delayed in coming back, or whether 
they be lovers who had deserted and forgotten their mates, 
that this moon should kill the lonely poor ones with his 
sharp darts of fragrant flowers should be no cause for 
surprise. Please understand this.’ 

Thus evidencing her excessive love wrote Madavi, 64-73 
sallow-complexioned and well acquainted with the sixty- 
four arts® when her sweet tongue expressed in musical pan 
and tiram, the tender tone of a lisping child. She then 
called aloud her maid Vasantamala, on that pensive even- 
ing, and asked her to inform Kovalan of all that had been 
written on the flower-garland and to bring him to her. 
Receiving the garland, Vasantamala of the lance-like long 
eyes went to Kovalan living in the quarter where grain 
was stored, and handed it over to him. 

^ It is interesting to note the nature of the writing materials used for love 

^ The implication is that Spring being a youthful prince cannot rule fairly 
and well. 

® Cf. Vatsy ay ana’s Kdrnasutra where the names of the sixty-four arts 
are given. 

14S The Silappadikaram [VIII. 74 

74-77 Then Kovalan refused to receive the message saying : 

‘The kankuduvari'- performed by the loving maiden 
having tilaka on her forehead, curls of hair adorned with 
flowers, small black eyebrows, kuvalai-like eyes casting 
love glances, kiimil-like nose, and kovvai-like lips, 

78-83 ‘The kdnvari^ dance of the black long-eyed dancer, who 
moved backward and forward by coming and going, with 
a moon-like face which seemed to groan under the weight 
of rain-bearing clouds of hair, whose eyes frisked about 
like carps, and whose bewitching smile exposed pearl-white 
teeth from within her coral-coloured sweet lips, 

84-89 ‘The dance of Disguise (uhmT), performed by the 
dancer whose piercing eyes were as sharp as a spear and 
who noticed the poverty of my heart after my separation 
from her owing to a lover’s quarrel, and being lonely 
appeared at the approach of eventide in the guise of her 
maid cheered me up with words as sweet as those of the 
parrot, with steps as entrancing as those of a swan, and 
with grace as ravishing as that of the peacock, 

90“93 ‘The minor dance pumvari^ which, drunk with passion, 
she, whose slender waist could bear no ornaments, 
danced, in front (of the house) to the tinkling of foot-orna- 
ments and jingling waist-band (not embracing me) though 
she knew that I was pining for her, 

94-101 ‘The dance of kilarvari'' performed by her who had a 
beautiful forehead, garlanded locks of hair, forelocks adorn- 
ed with petals, a string of pearls, and beauteous breasts 
causing distress to her waist and who appeared languid 

^ One of the eight vari; a kind of dancing or, more appropriately, 
gesture. It seems to have been a custom in .ancient times for the dancing- 
girls to take to vari as distinguished from the kuravai in which housewives 
took the leading part. This literally means the first view of the heroine by 
the hero. See Ta 77 iil Lexicon, p. 184. 

2 Dance performed at frequent and repeated intervals. 

® This was to disguise one’s own form. An example of living incognito 
is that of the Pan^avas in the city of Virata king. 

* Dance where the heroine coldly neglects her lover’s company. 

® ‘Posture assumed by an offended lover or love, when an intermediary 
tries to conciliate ’ — Tamil Lexicon, p. 938. 


VIII . 102] 


with her sleek tresses devoid of all sheen after purposely- 
misconstruing the message I sent to her through her maid- 
servant expressing my love for her, 

‘The terccivari^ performed by her when reflecting and 102-4 
reflecting on her sufferings caused by my separation and 
by her unbearable love towards me, she expressed to my 
numerous relatives, 

‘ The kdtcivari^ which she performed when she wore 105-6 
the garland with bees buzzing on it and spoke about her 
distress to all onlookers, 

‘And the eduttukkolvar^ which she danced one follow- 107-8 
ing the other, seeing which, those upon whom she fell in 
a swoon comforted her after bringing her to her senses, 

‘All these dances, my dear girl bedecked with jewels, 109-10 
are quite natural to her because she is only a dancing-girl.’ 

Thus when he refused to accept the garland sent by 111-18 
the bejewelled Madavi, with the message written on the 
white tdlai flowers of the screw-pine, Vasantamala was 
sorrow-stricken at heart and wasted no time in returning to 
tell her mistress adorned with a flower garland, what had 
happened. Madavi of the long flower-like eyes, said in 
reply : ‘Fair lady, if he does not come this night, we will 
see him at least tomorrow morning’ and sat down with a 
heavy heart on the couch spread with flowers, sleepless. 


When^ the Spring came and the red lotus opened its i 
petals, the tender leaves of the sweet mango tree hung 
down, and the beautiful asoka blossomed. O, what 
mental suffering has to be endured by our lady of the good 
spear-like eyes ! 

^ ‘A dramatic action in which a person expresses in detail all his sufferings 
to his relatives ’ — Tamil Lexicon, p. 2060- 

^ ‘Dance exhibiting sorrow and distress’—ibid , p. 848. 

^ ‘Theatrical action of swooning in extreme anguish in order to be lifted 
up’— ’ibid., p. 515. 

^ Soliloqy of the hunch-backed Vasantamala in taking the ola (message) 
from, her mistress. 

150 The Silappadikaram [VIII. 2 

2 When the cuckoo proclaimed ‘O ye that quarrelled 
with your lovers/ it is the command of Cupid that you 
must love one another’ (Vasantamala remembered what 
she had said to Kovalan). 'O you who enjoyed her sweet 
words in the seaside park, enjoy now these sweet words 
written on tender flowers by her who has been embraced 
by the Spring-.’ 

^ This is what is known as udal. See Kajittogaiy st. 92, 1 . 61. It was 

a kind of ‘love quarrel between the husband and wife, arising from jealousy, 
peculiar to the agricultural tracts, one of five uripporuV. 

Canto IX 




In the evening when the sun disappeared, ladies with 1-4 
creeper-like waists sprinkled^ lustrous buds of mullai 
flowers, just blossoming, and paddy grains in their houses 
in the big city ; they lit their jewelled lamps and attired 
themselves in a manner appropriate to the night. ^ 

One day long ago, Malati fed her co-wife’s child with 5~^5 
milk ; but the milk choked the child who hiccoughed and 
died. Being in a panic that her husband the Brahman and 
her co-wife would throw the blame upon her and would 
not accept the truth, Malati took the dead child in her arms 
and went to the temple where stood the divine kalpaka tree 
(amarartarukkottam),^ to the temple of the white elephant 
(yelydnaikkoUam),^ to the temple of the beautiful white 
god {yellaindgarkdUam),^ to the temple of the Sun who 
rises in the east (uccikkildnkottam), to the temple of the 
city-god (urkkoUam),^ to the temple of the spear -god 
{y erkottam) to the temple of the Vajra (yaccirakkdUam),’‘ 
to the temple of the Deity who dwells outside the city 

Cf. Nedunalvd4ciii 11 • 39 ‘ 44 - 

2 It appears that ladies had two kinds of dresses : one for the day and the 
other for the night. 

^ Kalpaka was the divine tree in heaven, whose fragrance and flowers 
were enjoyed by Indrani. 

♦ This is the Airavata temple, the Airavata being the mount of Indra, the 
king of heaven. 

* The temple of Balarama. 

^ The reference is to the god enshrined at Kailasa, that is, Siva. 

^ This is the temple of Muruga. 

® Either it was a temple where Vajra specially was worshipped or it is 
a reference to Indra’s shrine. Cf. Mam., canto 1. 27 . 

152 The Silappadikaram [IX. i6 

(Aiyanar) (purampanaiydnvalkdtiam),^ to the temple of the 
Nigranthas (niggantakkottam),^ and to the temple of the 
Moon {nildkkdttamy and besought all these gods thus : ‘O 
ye gods! Relieve me of my great trouble.’ Then she 
betook herself to the temple^ of the famous Rattan learned 
in the sdstra called pasandam and besought his counsel. 

16-25 At that time appeared before her one, a young creeper- 
like girl, as if mocking others by her beauty, who said, ‘O 
faultless woman ! God will not grant a boon to those who 
have not performed penance. This is not a false state- 
ment ; it is a true saying : so hand to me this dead body.’ 
Saying that, she forcibly snatched the corpse from the 
(poor) woman’s hands and went in the darkness, when all 
slept, to the ground sudukatpukkottam^ where the goblin 
Idakini who eats buried dead bodies, took the child’s 
corpse and devoured it. Before her who cried out like a 
peacock at the visitation of thunder, appeared the God 
Rattan,® who comforted her with the following words 
'O mother ! Do not weep in your distress. Look before 
you and behold the living child.’ 

25-28 To fulfil the promise, the God himself assumed the 
form of that child and lay in the grove which was the haunt 

^ Adiyarkkunallar identifies this with Satavahana’s temple. See Tolh, 
‘Sey.’ siitra 118, comm. See also Dtvdkaramy st. 12. 

® This was a Jaina temple, 

® Here is evidence of a separate temple dedicated to the Moon-god. 

^ This and the above few lines show that as many as eleven temples were 
found in the city belonging to different cults. They also show that the worship 
of Indra, of the Moon, of the Sun, and of Ralarama, which has now become 
practically extinct, was extant in the early centuries of the Christian era. In 
those days, it is also seen that the people worshipped at all temples includ- 
ing that of the Jaina and the prlsanda (heretic gods). This demonstrates that 
there was no sectarian outlook in matters religious. 

^ The ^udukdftiikkdttam can be identified with cakravdjakk<j{iam mention- 
ed in Mani., canto vi. Though it is difficult to fix the date of the origin 
of the institution of cremation, it seems reasonable to suppose that it is as 
old as that of burial. 

^ Sattan can be identified with Sasta now enshrined in the Sasta temples 
which are generally found on the outskirts of villages. See article ‘Aloka’s 
Religion’ in /.O.i?., 1930, p. ayS, 

IX. 2 g] Kanattiramuraittakadai 153 

of cuckoos. The overjoyed Malati took up this illusory 
child, clasped it to her bosom and (going home) handed 
it to its mother. 

This divine Brahman child grew into a boy’' and 29-32 
acquired a profound knowledge of the sacred scriptures. 

Later, when his parents died, he settled all disputes among 
their relations, and performed all the religious obsequies 
due to them.* Afterwards he married a lady named 
Devandi and lived with her (for some time) saying 'May 
your flower-like eyes bear this (divine) sight.’ 

(One day) he appeared to her in his eternal form of , 33-4° 
youth and then vanished asking her to go to his shrine. 

After he had gone with those inspiring words, Devandi, 
who was worshipping at his temple every day, gave out as 
a pretext* (for his absence) ‘He has left me saying that 
he will visit all the sacred places. Please bring him back 
to me.’ 

Having come to know that the good lady Kannaki of 40“44 
undiminished repute had cause for distress, and thinking of 
it with a sorrowful heart, Devandi worshipped the god for 
her sake with (offerings of) arugu, (Aerua lanata) and 
paddy, and went (to Kannaki), with the blessing ‘May 
you get back your husband.’ 

But Kannaki replied, ‘Though I may get him back, 45-54 
my heart will still be pained ; for I have had a dream.^ It 
was thus. We went, hand in hand, to a great city. There 
some people belonging to the city said something which 
was unbearably unjust. Some crime was thrown upon 
Kovalan. It stung me like a scorpion-bite. Hearing 
it, I pleaded before the protecting king. The king as 

1 A hrahmacdn. 

2 The svadharma of a Brahman hrahmacdri and householder which is 
furnished here agrees with what is prescribed in the Dharmaidstras and the 
Dharmasulras. For the six duties incumbent on the householder see Hindu 
Adj7ihnstraiive Institutions, pp. 1S8-9, 

® To those who asked her why she was staying at the shrine, she used 
to answer thus. 

^ Note how the dream came true. 

154 "The Silappadikaram [IX. 55 

well as the city would witness a great calamity. I shall 
not say more because it was a bad dream. O lady with 
close-fitting bangles, if you listen to the evil deed done 
to me and the happy results^ achieved by me and my 
husband, you will laugh (in derision).’ 

55-63 Devandi replied ; ‘O lady wearing golden bangles ! You 
have not been discarded by your husband. This trouble 
is due to your having failed to perform a vow in a 
former birth. If you wish to wipe off that evil, go to the 
spot where the Kaveri meets the roaring sea. There is 
a park where the neydal opens its petals, and where two 
sacred tanks are dedicated to the Sun (Suryakundam) and 
the Moon (SomakundamY respectively. Those women 
who bathe in them and worship the God of love'’ enshrined 
there, will ever enjoy the company of their husbands in 
this world. Besides they will also attain Heaven [Boga- 
bumi). 'We shall go there one day to bathe.’ 

64— 71 But bejewelled Kannaki said in reply to the charm- 

ing lady, ‘That is not proper and sometime after this 
a young maidservant approached her and said, ‘Our 
Kdvalan has arrived at the gate. It looks as if he will 
protect us for a long time.’ Kovalan went into the house 
and entering the bedchamber was stricken with grief at 
the sight of the pale Kannaki, his fair wife, and said, ‘By 
consorting with a false woman who makes every false thing 
appear like truth, I have lost the rich store of my ancestral 
wealth. O, the poverty I have caused (to our house) 
makes me ashamed of myself.’ 

^ The evil deed is the plucking off of one of her breasts. The happy 
results are the attainment of heaven, 

® In a note Dr Swaminatha Aiyar seems to identify these with Somatlrtham 
and Suryaiirtham in Tiruverikadu. The Pattinappdlai (Patiuppatpu), 1. 39, 
refers to these as irukdmattinaiyeri, the lakes which give one’s desire. 

^ The reference is to a temple of Manmatha or the God of Love. Though 
festivals in his honour are still conducted, we have no separate temples to 
this deity. Cf. Pap^inappdlai, 1. 39, and Jivakacintdmani, st. 1598. 

♦This is in keeping with the sentiment of the Kuralvenhd, st. 55, where 
it is stated that chaste ladies offer worship to no God but their husbands, 

IX. 72] Kanattiramuraittakadai 155 

Comforting him with a fascinating smile on her bright- 72—79 
ening face, she replied, ‘O, do not grieve ! You yet have 
my anklets. Accept them.*^ Then Kdvalan retorted, 'O, 
my good girl, listen. I will use this anklet as my capital 
to recover all the jewels and all the wealth I have lost.^ 

Rise up, O lady with the tresses decorated with choice 
flowers ! Come with me to the city of Madura highly 
renowned for its tower. ^ Impelled by fate he decided to 
start before the heavy darkness of the night was dispelled 
by the sun. 


The dream dreamt by his wife made the words of the 
black and long-eyed Madavi empty. Early, before the 
sun dispelled the darkness of night, (Kovalan and his wife) 
started, impelled by fate which had decreed their doom 
long ago. 

^ Kannaki spoke thinking that Kovalan wanted to take some more orna- 
ments to the dancing-girl Madavi. 

® The author seems to infer from the life of Kovlan that the leading of 
an immoral life will result in the loss of all wealth and property. 

Canto X 




1-4 On the last day on which the last watch of the night was 
dark,^ when the eye of the sky (the sun) had not opened, 
and when the white moon that shone in the company of 
the stars had vanished, Kovalan and (Kannaki) started 
forth driven by their fate. 

5_i 4 Having passed out of their tall outer gate with its 
very famous latched door® where the goat and the yak and 
the swan® with its soft down were roaming about in a 
sense of kinship, they circumambulated the temple sacred 
to Manivannan (Visnu) sleeping his all-perceiving sleep* 
on his beautiful serpent-couch. Going beyond it they left 
behind them the seven viharas^ made by Indra, where 
divinities moving in the sky explained treatises on dharma, 
which were the divine words of the Aravon (the Buddha), “ 

^ The Indra festival commenced on Saturday, Citrapaurnarni, and continued 
for 28 days ending with Monday (Star Anusam) of the month of Vaika^i and 
resulting in the udal of Kovalan and Madavi. The journey to Madura by 
Kovalan was begun the next Tuesday, when the star Kettai was in the ascen- 
dant, (See Adiyarkkunallar’s commentary.) This calculation is incorrect. 

^ The idea here is that when the gate was made, the latch formed an 
integral part of it. It means it was not separate from it. 

^ It would anpear from the commentary that these domesticated animals 
were also artistically carved on the gateway. If so it bears evidence that 
wood carving was practised in the ancient Tamil land. 

** Ydganidra of Visnu. This demonstrates that Kovalan and Kannaki 
offered prayers to the Vaisnava deity. Later it is said that they worshipped 
at the Jaina iilatala. This bears testimony to the fact that there was little 
difference between earlier Jainism and the orthodox religion, 

^ See canto xxvii, 1. 92 infra. The literal meaning of the term vihdra 
is ‘not constructed either by hand or by machinery’ ; it is a mind-born institu- 
tion. See Mani.j canto xxvi, 1. 55 and canto xxviii, 1. yo, 

® See Mani., canto xxi, 1 . 48, 

X. 15] Nadukankadai 157 

under the cool shade of the green bodi^ tree which had 
five lofty branches. 

They then worshipped, and went round the highly shin- iS~^S 
ing Hldtala,'^ jointly built by the Jaina householders for the 
benefit of .the Caranar^ who would assemble, on festive 
days, such as the day of the first freshes (in the Kaveri) 
and of the car-festival, under the entrancingly cool shade 
of the golden flowered asoka tree, standing on a high 
platform where all the five termini sacred to the five great 
yogins converged.* There gathered the men of penance 
who had abjured meat eating, and taken the vow of speak- 
ing the truth alone, and purified themselves of all sins, 
understanding the true path by restraining their senses.'* 

They then passed beyond the entrance-gate (of the 26-31 
city), which looked like a long river with its source in 
a hill, and reached the outer wall which enclosed a lake 
and a grove {ilavandihaif lined by beautiful trees thickly 
covered with several sorts of flowers, which were offered 
along with lovely Spring and the Hill-breeze as a tribute 
to the (Cola) king by the bodiless God (Kama). 

Proceeding further still, they crossed the broad road ren- 32-45 
dered cool by the low branches of trees on either side 
which led to a bathing place on the Kaveri, and going 
westwards they penetrated to the distance of a kadam into 
the flowery grove on the northern bank of the river cele- 
brated for its freshes, until they reached the residence of 
the saint Kavundi (Kavundippalli) which was a grove of 

^ Mahodt is a tree with five branches. Manu^ canto xxx, 1. 10. Bodimu'- 
lam (mahabodi) is the aivattha tree under which Gautama Buddha saw the 
great light. 

® It was made of candrakdnta or moonstone. 

® The Jaina Caranar are under reference. They visited Puliar on certain 
festival days. The tree sacred to them was the aioka. 

* These yogis are commonly known as Pancaparamei^tins. They are 
Arhat, Siddha, Acarya, Upadhyaya and Sadhu. 

® The practice of the Savakas is referred to. 

® Ilavandtkai was the king’s park in which was a lake. Cf mrdUmai^dapam 
used nowadays in connexion with temple festivals. See canto xxv, 1. 4, infra; 
also Mani,j canto iii, 11. 45-6. 

158 The Silappadikaram [X. 46 

flowering trees. There the slender-waisted (Kannaki) felt 
fatigued. Her feet were sore (with walking). Breathing 
hard, she of the fragrant tresses asked in a lisping voice, 
displaying her sharp-edged teeth, ‘Which is the ancient 
city of Madura?’ Kovalan smiled a smile of hidden grief 
and said, ‘Girl of the fragrant five-plaited hair, it is over 
thirty leagues^ from our extensive city. It is very near.’ 
Then he visited with his sweet-voiced wife the venerable 
Kavundi who lived there, ^ and both prostrated themselves 
before her. 

-49 The saint looked at them and said ‘You have attract- 
ive features, noble lineage and highly commendable con- 
duct. You appear to be faultlessly observing dharma as 
laid down in the sacred Jaina scriptures.^ Why is it that 
you have left your home and come so far in great distress ?’ 

—63 Kovalan replied : ‘There is not much to say in reply 
to what you ask, O great saint ! I am only eager to go to 
the ancient city of Madura to make a fortune.’ The saint 
answered, ‘If that is so, these tender feet (Kannaki’s) 
cannot stand the sharp and rough gravel. This fair lady 
is not fit to go through the jungle. But who knows? 
Though the journey is not fit for you, you will not abandon 
it even if I ask you to do so.^ Since I am very anxious 
to visit flawless Madura in the good Tamil country of the 
south, there to worship Arivan by listening to the dharma 
preached by the sinless saints, who have, by their purity, 
got rid of all their adharma, I shall also go with you. 
Let us go !’ Thereupon Kovalan worshipped the venera- 
ble Kavundi with lifted palms and replied ‘O saint, if you 

The distance from Uraiyur to Madura is 30 kddams. Feeling that 
Kannaki was already wearied, Kovalan did not tell her outright that it was 
30 kddams, but said it was six times five leagues, so that she would not be 
alarmed at the long distance I 

® This is referred to as a portion of the S'ri-koil where he lived with the 
revered Kavundi. It may be noted that the two forms Kavundi and Kavundi 
occur in the text. 

® Kavundi was a Jain and so she speaks with a partiality to the dharma 
of that religion. 

* The implication here is, ‘Who knows what Fate has in store for you?’ 


X. 64] 


so favour us, I shall be relieved of my anxiety about this 
girl with shoulder-bangles.’ 

Kavundi continued : 64-75 

'See, O Kovalan ! There are various kinds of troubles 
to be met in our way (to Madura).^ Listen : If we decide 
to go through shady places covered with cool flowers with 
this tender lady who cannot endure the scorching sun, we 
may, perchance, encounter the dire distress which comes 
to people who do not avoid the deep and deceitful pits 
caused by the men who dug out the edible valli roots grow- 
ing underground, and covered over with the faded flowers 
from the grove of campaka trees. If they cautiously avoid 
these fallen flowers and walk on, they will knock their 
heads against fully ripe jack-fruits. If then they go into 
the luxuriant gardens where the turmeric and ginger plants 
are grown, they will unwittingly tread upon the hard seeds 
of jack-fruits lying hidden. 

‘O loving husband of the lady with carp-like long eyes, 76-81 
if we decide to go along the fields,^ this damsel will be 
frightened by the otters, who drive away the quarrelling 
carps in ponds fragrant with flowers, and seize in their 
mouths the long-backed vdlai fish when they are leaping 
across the tank where the malangu live.* 

‘Again, the honey-filled hives built (by bees) on sugar- 82-85 
canes, will have been dismantled (by the wind) filling the 
drinking-water of the tank encircled by sugar-canes with 
honey ‘ and bees. It is possible that our lady, in a fit of 
delusion will take the water in her joined palms and drink 
it (along with the bees) to quench her Insufferable thirst. 

‘Again those who pluck out the weeds will have scat- 86-89 
tered the water-lily on the ridges in which multi-tinted 

^ The forest-route is described as containing snares and pitfalls. The chief 
produce was jack-fruit ; turmeric and ginger also grew there. 

® The second route through the agricultural tracts is suggested. Here 
were cultivated fields interspersed by ponds. 

® A fish whose head resembled that of a snake. 

* The statement suggests that honey was food forbidden to Jains. 

i6o The Silappadikaram [X. 90 

beetles^ will be lying in a stupor after having drunk the 
honey of the flowers. As you walk along, your feet may 
unconsciously tread on them. 

90-93 ‘If you decide to walk along the bunds of canals where 
waters splash you will tread upon multi-spotted crabs and 
snails, and cause unbearable pain to them.“ 

94-97 ‘There is no other route anywhere except through 
fields and groves. O friend with a tuft of curly hair ! 
Know these signs and avoid such dangers as you go along 
in the company of this fair lady.’ 

98-101 Thus saying, the venerable Kavundi took up her 
sacred begging-bowl and her netted bag suspended from 
her shoulders.'* Holding a peacock’s feathers in her hand 
and praying that the pancamantra' might be their guide on 
the way, Kavundi, unrivalled in the practice of virute, 
accompanied the other two in their journey. 

i02-ir Though Saturn gets angry,® though the (fiery) comet® 
is visible, though Venus of the bright rays travels towards 
the south (of the sky),^ no harm is rendered to the 
Kaveri which has its source in the wind-swept heights of the 
Coorg hills where, to the accompaniment of raging thunder, 
the seasonal clouds pregnant with rain pour down their 
blessings’ the Kaveri which dashes along with such diverse 
hill produce to meet the advancing tide of the wealth-bearing 
sea.® But finding her movement arrested by the barrier 

^Here is the preaching of ahtmsd or non-injury carried to its utmost limit. 

^ Further emphasis on observing the principle of ahwndf the cardinal 
doctrine of the Jains, though it largely figures in the orthodox religion of the 

^ The begging-bowl (katijuai), the uri, and peacocks’ feathers are the outfit 
of the Jaina ascetic. See Ndla 4 iydrt ‘Ekai’, 1. 9; Mani.^ canto vi, 1. 93. 

* The pancamantra : a, si, a, u, sa. The Jains style this pancanamaskd- 
ram. These symbols represent Arhat, Siddha, Acaiya, Upadhyaya, and Sadhu, 
the first letters of the Pancap aramestins. Its counterpart in orthodox religion 
is pancdk^aray namaiivdya. 

^ Evidence of the author’s knowledge of astronomical science. Saturn 
grows angry when he lodges himself in R^abha, Mina, and Simha. 

^The Dhumaketu of Sanskrit literature. 

^ These signs are supposed to forebode evil by causing drought. 

8 Conch, coral, pearls, etc., are the products of the sea. 

X. 1 12] Nadukankadai i6i 

— the anicut with its doorway — she noisily leaps beyond it 
in the sportive mood natural to her first freshes. No sound 
other than this can be heard. We can hear there neither 
the sound of the bucket/ nor of the water-lift ; neither the 
usually loud pecottah, nor the palm-leaf basket used in 

In the beautiful forest of lotuses appearing out of ponds 112-19 
in regions surrounded by paddy-fields and sugar-cane 
could be heard, just as in a battle-field^ where two 
monarchs fight, different kinds of sounds produced by the 
water-fowl,® the loud-voiced crane, the red-footed swan, 
the green-footed heron, wild fowl, the water crow (black 
heron), fishes, creeping insects, birds and big herons. 

Wallowing in the mire, in regions left unploughed, 120-26 
black buffaloes would come out with their unwashed hair 
and their red eyes, and rub their itching backs upon the 
straw granary when it gets loose and releases the grain 
stocked within amidst the sheaves of paddy whose rice- 
corn hangs down like fly whisks'^ made of the fur of the 
kavari yak. In those places brawny-armed labourers and 
cultivators would assemble making a motley of sound. 

There was also the sound of (rural) songs® sung to (new) 127-31 
tunes by low-caste women in their drunken moods® while 
they looked through their fish-like large eyes and uttered 
indecent words standing in playful postures and, threw 
mud upon each other, covering up their broad, bangled 
shoulders and breasts with mud, having removed the 
(faded) fragrant flowers from their hair and replaced them 
with paddy-shoots. 

^ It is interesting to see here the different methods of irrigating fields. Cf. 

Kaut. Artha., Bk. 11, chap. ‘Sitadhyaksa’. See also Maduraikkdnji, 11. 89 - 93 - 
Most of these methods still survive in rural areas. 

^ The confused noise of the battle-field is compared to the different kinds 
of sounds made by a number of water-birds. 

^ Here is a categorical list of water-birds. 

* Fly whisks were generally made of the fur of the yak. 

® A description of typical rural life. 

® Low-caste women were addicted to drinking- They decked themselves 
with paddy-shoots in their hair, 







i 62 The Silappadikaram [X. 132 

There was also the sound of the benedictory songs 
(ermangalam) sung reverently by ploughmen^ standing by 
their ploughshares and seeming to break open the ground 
which they decorated with garlands made of paddy-stalks, 
luxuriant arugu, and water-lilies. 

There was also heard the niuhavai song^ sung (by the 
field-labourers) when they drove cattle over the reaped 
paddy sheaves to thresh the corn ; and the cheering 
applause^ of those who heard the round-shaped tabor 
smeared with mud played by proud minstrels who used to 
produce clear music by their kinai.^ 

Having heard these sounds in regular succession along 
the banks of the great rivers, the travellers grew glad in 
their hearts and did not feel the fatigue of the journey. 

As they passed along, with success due to the prowess of 
the reigning Cola who owned the chariot with the tiger- 
flag, they saw everywhere the sacrificial smoke, raised by 
Brahmans in the agnisdla of their tall houses'' which 
closely resembled fog-covered hilb, capable of impregna- 
ting even the rain-bearing clouds.® 

Going further, they saw ancient and prosperous vil- 
lages of cultivators,' the sons of Dame Kaveri and her 
expansive waters, who were responsible for the support of 
the needy and their dependants, and for the victory of the 

This refers to the simplicity and sincerity of the ploughmen at their 
work and points to the dignity of field labour. They knew the advantages 
of deep ploughing. 

® A kind of song sung by field-labourers on the threshing-floor of paddy 
fields. Cf. Puram., st. 371. 

® This is what is called kaJavaUvaUtiL. Accoiding to the Tolkappiyutn it 
is erhkalaiwli (the song of the plough) different from pdrkkalavaU (a war- 
song). Cf. Pum.^ V enhdmdlai, ^Vahaippadalam’, st. 32. 

* One of the many rural amusements. They were minstrels who sang 
the praises of Velalas to the accompaniment of the kinai drum. 

® A description of the Brahman residences. 

® Conclusive proof of the fire rite being practised on an extensive scale 
by Brahmans in the early Christian era in the Tamil land. It implies 
the acceptance of the theory that sacrifices cause rain, which finds a parallel 
in the BJiagavat Gita (ch. v), where it is said * Yajnad bhavati Parjanyah\ 

’’ Different types of villages were encountered. 


X. 156] 


monarch/ They also saw rustic parts interspersed by 
villages where the rising fumes of the ovens, in which the 
sugar-cane® juice was being boiled, spread far and wide 
over heaps of stored corn which appeared like dark clouds 
resting on mountains. They did not travel more than 
one kadam each day. 

After several days’ journey, they reached ^rirangam,® 156-64 
where the river (the Kaveri) was hidden by the city. 

Nearby was the habitation of the Devas — a spot filled 
with the fragrance of different independent flowers in the 
middle of groves of trees fenced by the bent bamboo. 

There appeared one Carana'^ who was well known for his 
great skill in expounding the rules of dharma, given to the 
world by the pre-eminent Perumakan,® and who was re- 
turning from the glittering bright sildtala of the paUinap- 
pakkam of Puhar which had been jointly erected by the 
high-minded householders {aiyarY and where he was in the 
habit of sitting. 

Kavundi who had recognized the approach of this 165-69 
Carana, fell prostrate with her companions at his feet say- 
ing : ‘May all our past sins perish.’ Though the Carana 
who had a knowledge of the past, present and future®^ 
knew the reason for their coming there, he did not feel 
afflicted being a hero who had completely put aside attach- 
ment and anger. 

* The author realized that agriculture is the mainstay of the king and 

® The manufacture of sugar and jaggery from sugar-cane was a common 
industry in the rural parts of ancient Tamil India. 

^ Srxrangam, now two miles from the town of Trichinopoly. 

^ In a note Dr Swaminatha Aiyar identifies these Caranar with Samana 
sages of whom there were eight classes- See Cuddmai^i, p. 36. 

^ Perumakan is an epithet for Arliat in the context. The threefold eminence 
is related to three adUayams which are natural, karmatc and providential. 

® The term aiyar used here is significant. It seems to be used in con- 
nexion with people who evoked regard from the masses. Undoubtedly it 
comes from the term drya, which has in our opinion no ethnic connotation 
as scholars would make us believe. 

^ Avatijndnam according to Arumpadavuraiyasiriyar. 

164 The Silappadikaram [X. 170 

*70-75 He then spoke as follows : ‘O Kavundi of great and 
abundant distinction ! You know how inexorable are the 
laws of destiny d They do not cease (from action) even if 
ordered to cease. Nor can its wholesome effect be wiped 
away. They are like the sprouts shooting forth from 
sown seeds. Like the lighted lamp that is extinguished 
in an open plain when the high winds blow, is life in a 

176-91 The All-Knowing, the incarnation of dharma, He who 
has transcended all limits of understanding, the great 
Friend, the great Victor (Jinendra)," the Accomplisher,^ 
the Great Person (Bhagavan), the foundation of all 
dharma, the Lord, the All- Righteous, the Inner Essence 
(of the Agama), the Pure, the Ancient-One, the All- 
Wise, the Vanquisher of Wrath, the Deva, the Blissful 
Lord,^ the Supreme Being, the Possessor of all virtues, 
the Light that illumines the world above, the great Truth, 
the All- Humble, the great Carana,® the Root Cause of 
all, the yd gin, ^ the great One, the great Illumination, the 
Dweller in everything,’^ the great Guru, the Embodiment 
of Nature, Our great God, the One of undiminishing 
fame, the great King of virtues,® the All- Prosperous,® the 
great God,^“ the Self-born, the four-faced,^" the Bestow'-er 
of the angas,^^ the Arhat, the peace-bestowing Saint, the 

^ Cf. Ndla 4 tydr — the whole of ‘Falavinai’, esp. st. 4. 

® They are jndnavdranlyam^ darisandvdramyamf vedaniyam, mohanlyam^, 
dyusyam, ndmam, gotram, and antardyam. See Adiyarkkunallar’s gloss. 

® Also Krtakrtya (Sans.) The term in the text is sidda. 

* The one who gives liberation to all. It should be noted that the term 
mdkm is given as sivagati, literally the attainment ot the Saiva world. 

^ He who could move about at his will, 

® The master of the eight mystic powers. 

^ Cf. Mani., canto v, 1. 71. 

® Also the possessor of all virtues. 

® Sankara. 

^0 Isa. 



It may be the anga portion of the Veejic texts. As applied to the Jains 
it is anga-dgama. 


X. 192] 


One God, the Possessor of eight qualities,' the indivisible 
old Substance, the Dweller in the Heaven, the foremost of 
the Vedas, ^ and the shining Light that dispels ignorance. 

None can escape the prison^ of this body unless he obtains 
the illumination of the revealed Veda proclaimed by Him 
who has the various (above-mentioned) names.’ 

Hearing these truthful words of the Carana, Kavundi, 192-213 
pre-eminent in penance, joined her hands on her head, and 
said : ‘My ears will not open themselves to hear anything 
other than the words of wisdom revealed by Him who 
vanquished the Three (Desire, Anger and Delusion). My 
tongue will not say anything other than the 1008 names^ 
of the victor of Kama. My eyes will not see, though 
they seem to see, anything other than the pair of feet of 
Him who overcame the Five (senses).^ My useless body 
will not touch the earth except before the holy body of 
Him® who has taken upon himself virtue out of His grace. 

My two hands will not join together to reverence any one 
other than the Knower who expounds dharma to Arhats. 

My crown will not suffer any flower to be placed on it 
except the flower-like feet of Him who walked upon 
flowers.^ My mind will not permit me to learn by heart 
anything other than the sacred words uttered by the God 
of interminable bliss.’ 

Hearing with approval these words of praise from her, 
the Carana arose from the sildvattam and rising to a 

^ These are anaatajndnam, anantadarsanamj anantavtryam, anantasukham^ 
nirndmam^ nirgdiram^ mrdyusyam and aliydviyalpu. See Arumpadavuraiya- 
^iriyar. For the term enkunattdn, see Rural, and commentary of 

^ The three dga^maSj Angagama, Purvagama, and Bahusrutiagama, are 
supposed to be the Vedas of the Jains. 

^ The term used is podiyarai, literally the ‘underground chamber with 
no opening’. In Mani., cantos hi, 1. 95 ; xxiii, I.60; iv, 1. 105, it is named 

^ What is called the Sahasranamas of the Lord. Cf. Marti. ^ canto v, 11. 77-9. 

® A Jitendriya according to the Sanskritists. 

® The idea is that she will not prostrate herself before anybody except God. 

^ Cf. Rural where the expression malarmimi ekindn occurs. We have 
not been able to trace any legend of the God walking on flowers. 

i66 The Silappadikaram [X. 214 

height of two spans, blessed Kavundi saying, ‘May thy 
birth-causing bondage cease !’^ and as he went away along 
a path in the sky, they worshipped him saying, ‘May our 
bondage cease.’ 

214-18 After having stepped into a boat at the landing-place 
of the great river Kaveri where rain-bearing clouds rested 
on the flowery groves, the couple and the great saint 
crossed over to the peerless temples on the southern bank 
where they rested for a while in a flowery grove full of 
fallen flowers. 

219-28 Just then a trifler passed by their side in that grove 
filled with fragrance, prating useless love-talk to a newly- 
found sweetheart.^ Desiring to know who the couple 
(Kdvalan and Kannaki) were, who looked like Kama and 
Rati, they approached (Kavundi) and said : ‘O Saint 
whose body has been famished by going without food on 
all fast days,'’’ who are these people who have come with 
you.?’ Kavundi replied : ‘They are my children. They 
are human beings. “ Do not approach them.® They are 
tired on account of their journey.’ The newcomers asked 
in return, ‘O wise one, who has known all the sdstras, 
have you ever heard the children of the same parents 
becoming husband and wife ?’ 

229-44 Kannaki closed her ears when she heard these sarcas- 
tic words and shuddered in the presence of her husband. 
Kavundi imprecated on them a curse of an extraordinary 
penance : ‘Since these two seem to insult my dear one, 
fair as a flower garland, they shall become old jackals in 
the thorny forest.’ Because this curse was uttered by one 
who had done penance, Kovalan and his wife of the 
fragrant tresses, soon heard the long howl of the jackals 


^ Samsdrapasa-bandham. 

^ Cf. Kural, 1311 ; Mani., canto x, L 22. 

® See Mani.y canto xviii, I. 122 ; Jivakacintdmam\ 1 . 1547. 

* The statement implies that they were not Kama and Rati as supposed 

^ Implying ‘go your own way\ 


X. 245] 


(into which the lovers had been transformed) and trembled. 

They said, 'Though those who deviate from the path of 
virtue speak unjust Avords, still should it not be attributed 
to their ignorance?^ O Saint, please state when these 
men who have blundered in your presence will be released 
from this curse.’ The saint replied : 'Those who have 
descended into a lower order of birth due to lack of know- 
ledge will wander in trouble for twelve months in the 
forest-belt outside the Uraiyur fortress-wall ; they may 
afterwards regain their original forms.’ 

After their release from the curse had been pronounced, 245—49 
Saint Kavundi, Kovalan and Kannaki went to the place 
vdranam (Uraiyur) so-called because once in that place a 
fowl, having feathers on its body, had vanquished in war 
an elephant iydrana) whose ears were as broad as a 
winnowing fan.^ 

^ Cf. Kuial, St. 127. 

® Cf. Kahttogai, st. 42 ; Mani.^ canto xxix, I. 12 1. 


The Silappadikaram [X. Xatt. 


Xhus ends the Puhar section describing the descend- 
ence of the Cola line which, among the three crowned 
kings, ^ shone with their strong arms glittering with brace- 
lets* It speaks of the monarch’s virtue, valour^ and high 
deeds of renown of the fame of the ancient city of 
Puhar ; of the greatness of festival of the visit of Devas f 
oi his subjects who were perpetually happy of the abun- 
dance of their food f of the unparalleled glory of their fault- 
less, divine Kaveri,® of the unfailing first freshes due to 
seasonal rains ; of their courts,^ dances,^® ballads and min- 
strelsies of their dramatic representations of hdrata- 
virutti, of erotic compositions relating to aintinai, and 
other analogous compositions of the tunes of their 
musical instruments (yal) of the fourteen sakotams of 
the idanilaippdlai of their songs the tdrattdkkam^^ and 
the four pans; of the noises of the city-chariot and of 
the lustrous pdni d® all these and many more redounding 
to the unique glory of the king. 


Like the sun that rises in the morning and the moon 
that appears in the evening, may far-famed Puhar which 
forms the garland of the sea-girt earth, live for ever.^^ 

^ The Cera, the C 5 Ia, and the Pandya, the principal kings of the Tamil 

® V, 11 97-8. 

* ibid. V. 

® X, 11. 149-50. 

® ibid. 11. 102-109 ; vii, 11. 2-5 ; 11. 25-7. 
iii, 1. 16. 
vi, II. 39-63. 
iii, 1. 88. 

^ e viii, 11. 35 and 44. 

iii^ 1, 13^ and X, I. 131. 

isThe idea is ‘let Puhar last as long as the sun and moon endure’. 

®ibid. vi, 1. 14. 

®ibid. ; also vi, 11. 72-73. 
’'ibid. 11. 123-4. 

® iii, 11. 99 and 106. 

3-1 viii, 11. 74-108. 

^3 vi, 11. 17-23. 
xs iii, 1, yo, 

XV v, 11. 38-40. 



Canto XI 




Underneath the thick shade of the asoka tree with i-8 
its hanging flowers, the woman ascetic (Kavundi) wor- 
shipped the first God Arivan,^ more radiant than the rising 
sun, under three umbrellas arranged like three moons 
placed one above the other, and graciously spoke the 
good and wise words uttered by the Caranar, to all the 
sages of the kandanpalU,^ in the extensive grove adjoining 

After spending that day at their residence and wishing 9—14 
to go in a southerly direction, Kavundi, Kovalan and 
Kannaki left Varanam (Uraiyur) before day-break, and 
when the sun began to illumine the eastern sky, they 
reached a beautiful mandapam situated in the midst of 
a grove of young trees in a fertile spot containing a tank. 

There they met a venerable Brahmana who praised the 
Pandyan of unblemished repute thus : ‘May our great 
king live for ever, protecting this world from aeon to aeon ! 

Long live the Tennavan, the ruler of the southern region, 
who added to it^ the Ganges and the Himalayan regions in 

^ The Nayanar enshrined in the temple at Uraiyur. This was a Jain 
temple. The expression adiyirorram may mean ‘the god with no beginning 
or end ’ or ‘ a very ancient god 

^ This may refer to Uraiyur KandanpalU^ the sacred hall of the Nirgran- 
thas. Or it may refer to a shrine sacred to Kandan or Subrahmanya. 

^ Srirangam was then known as Arangam and later as Tiruvarangam. 
It is situated two miles from Trichinopoly. 

* This is a reference to the Pandyan invasion of North India, thus cor- 
roborating the tradition that the three prominent kings of the south went on 
a conquering mission as far as the Himalayas. In the south itself the Pandyan 
wrested Mutturkkurram from the Cola and Kundurkkurram from the Cera 
(see Adiyarkkunallar’s commentary). 

172 The Silappadikaram [XI, 32 

the north, who once showed his prowess to the other kings 
by standing on the shore of the sea and throwing his spear 
upon the fierce waters which, in a spirit of revenge, 
consumed the river Pahruli^ and the Kumari with their 
adjoining groups of hills. 

‘ Long live he who wore on his shining breast the 
bright garland of Indra, adding glory to the lunar race ! 
Long live our king who, when thunder-clouds withheld 
abundant showers, smote the bracelet® set in the crown 
of Indra, and imprisoned the clouds, so that there might 
be great prosperity from an unfailing harvest of crops.’ 

32-34 Thereupon Kovalan asked, ‘Where is your native 
home? What brings you here?’ 

The Brahmana of undiminishing distinction replied as 
follows : 

35-56 ‘I am a native of Mankadu® in the region of Kuda- 
malai (the western hills). I came to satisfy my heart’s 
desire, to see with my own eyes the glory of Visnu, 
whom many worship with prayer as He reposes with 
LaksmI in His breast, on the couch of the thousand- 
hooded Serpent, in the temple in Turutti'^ jutting out on 
the widening waves of the Kaveri, even as the blue 
clouds repose supine on the slopes of the lofty golden 
mountain (Meru). (I also came to see) the beauty of the 

^ See Puram.y st. 9. A river Parali seems to exist even now (see The 
Travancore State Manual, Vol. I, p. 240 n.). Here is a legendary description of 
the sea eroding the land. Kumarikkodu may refer to the river or to the 
hills of Kumari. It is better to take it as a reference to the river, since a river 
of that name is mentioned in the Brahmdnda Ptirdna. 

This legend and the following are attributed to Ugra Pandyan, in the 
Tiruvtlatyadal Purdnam. The king is said to have stemmed the tide of the 
sea by throwing his spear on the rising waves. (See KadaUnva^a velerinda 
TiruvilaiyddaJj No. 21, pp. 80-1, 2nd ed., by Dr. Swaminatha Aiyar.) 

® ibid., Indiran mudimel valaierinda patalam. The reference is to king 
Ugra Pandyan. 

® Also known as Mangal. 

* The term turutti denotes an islet in general. To venture a conjecture 
the place under reference may be Srirangam lying between the Kaveri and 
the Coleroon, 


XL 57] 


red-eyed Lord, holding in His beautiful lotus-hands the 
discus which is death to His enemies, and also the milk- 
white conch ; (to see Him) wearing a garland of tender 
flowers on His breast, and draped in golden flowers ; and 
dwelling on the topmost crest of the tall and lofty hill 
named Venkatam,^ with innumerable waterfalls, standing 
like a cloud in its natural hue, adorned with a rainbow and 
attired with lightning, in the midst of a place both sides of 
which are illumined by the spreading rays of the sun and 
the moon. 

‘Since T saw to the delight of my eyes, the glory and 
the greatness of the Pandyan kingdom,^ I stayed here bless- 
ing the king. This is the reason of my coming here.’ 

Having heard this from the Brahmana who had 57~59 
performed the Vedic sacrifices, Kovalan said, ‘O first 
among Brahmanas ! Pray tell us the best route to 

The Brahmana replied : ‘You have come with your 60-67 
lady in the season when jungle and mountain tracts have 
given up their natural appearance and taken the form of 
a desert, losing their smooth surfaces, thus causing deep 
distress, since King Sun, along with his minister Spring, 
by reason of his fierce heat, has diminished his essential 
quality and lost his beneficence, like a great kingdom whose 
monarch has deviated from the path of right policy under 
the influence of an unrighteous councillor.® 

^ The modern Tirupati HilL See canto vi, I. 30 above. It is still famous 
for the number of its waterfalls. 

2 It is worth noting that the poet stresses the glory of the 
Pandyan through the mouth of a Brahmana who does not belong to 
his kingdom. The greatness of the kingdom is to be contrasted with the 
injustice meted out to Kovalan later by the king, and the consequent bending 
of the rod of justice. It must be noted also that the age-long righteous 
sceptre only bent and did not break. For did not Kannaki herself claim to 
be the king’s daughter and inform us of his innocence? (See ‘Valttukkadai’, 
xxix, p. 577.) 

® Here the author of the epic wants to convey to the reader, by compari- 
son and contrast, the impressions of unrighteous rule and the consequent 
prevalence of anarchy in the land. 

174 Silappadikaram [XI. 68 

68-73 ' journey, you “swim” across rocks, 

hillocks (porai),'' illusory places and the bunds of lakes full 
of water, and reach Kodumbai^ by the bund of a great 
lake, you will come to a spot which looks like the devour- 
ing trident"' wielded by the God whose tuft is adorned with 
a crescent. 

74-86 ‘If you decide to take the route lying to the right and 
pass by the kadamha tree with outspread branches, 
the dried dmai tree, the vdhai with its cloven stem, the 
withered bamboo, the equally withered maral dark with 
fissures, jungles where thirsty deer roam about vainly in 
search of water, and the haunts of the Eiynar,** you will 
come across the celebrated Sirumalai'’ of the Pandyan 
covered on all sides with plants of wild rice, ripe 
sugar-cane, full-grown millets, vagi that grows on rich 
soil, garlic, saffron, beautiful kavalai creepers, plantains, 
arecas, coconuts growing in bunches, mangoes and jack 
tree. Keep that hill on your right and reach Madura. 

87-103 ‘If you do not take that route, but choose the route to 
the left, you will hear winged beetles singing the tune of 
sevvali,^ in the low-lying fields, in glades with cool flowers, 
and in jungles, primarily desert regions. Passing these 

^ Also known as pcitaimalai. 

® Kodumbalur containing a tank Nedunkulani. It was the capital from 
which the Velir line of kings ruled. The present town Kodumbalur in 
Pudukkottai State contains a larg'e number of inscriptions forming excellent 
historical material for reconstructing the history of the Velir line. One of 
the inscriptions supplies the genealogy of this ruling family. Thus the 
Kodumbai of the Silappadikaram played an important part in the early and 
medieval history of South India. According to the Penyaptirdnam, Idangali 
Nayanar, one of the sixty-three Saiva saints, had Kodumbalur for his capital. 
(See Chronological List of Inscriptions of the Pudukkottai State, 19-29, Nos. 14, 
33, 82, etc. ; An, Rep. Ep., 1907-8, paras. 87-9.) 

^ This indicates that from that spot branched off three routes as explained 
in the text below. 

* See Dikshitar’s article ‘Eiynar’ in Sentamil, VoL XXXI, No. i, for other 
details. • 

® Literally, the little hill. This hill exists today bearing the same name 
and is noted for its sweet plantains. 

* Sevvali is a primary melody-type of the Mullai region. Cf. Puram., 
St. 144. 

XI. 104 J Xadukankadai 175 

you reach Tirumalkunram/ that opens into a cave which 
removes all delusion, and leads to the miraculous three 
ponds, greatly praised by the gods, and called the 
sacred Saravanam,® Bava-karani and Ittasiddi,® evet 
renowned. If you bathe in the sacred Saravanam, you 
will gain knowledge of the book attributed to the king 
of the gods (Aindra-Vydkaranam) if you bathe in the 
Bava-k^ani, you will learn the deeds of your past 
which led to your present birth ; if, on the other hand, 
you bathe in the Ittasiddi pond, you will gain all that you 
wish for. 

‘If you choose to enter that cave, worship then the 
great Lord on that very lofty hill, meditating on His 
lotus-feet and going thrice round the hill ; there, on the 
broad banks of the ^ilambaru^ cutting its way through the 
soil, will appear at the flower-strewn base of the blossom- 
ing kongu tree, a nymph® fair as a golden creeper, as 

^ Tirumalkunram (literally, the hill sacred to Vifnu) is the name of a 
hill near Madura, known as Irumsolai and Tii'umalirum^olai, sung of by most 
of the Alvars. See also Paripaial^ st. 15. According to this authority this 
place was noted for the worship of Vasudeva and Balarama. It is not clear 
when the cult of Balarama became extinct here or in the Tamil land generally. 
Today this shrine is known as the Alagarmalai. It seems that Alagar may be 
a representation of the form of Balarama, and not necessarily of Krsna. 
Sundararajan is the Sanskrit rendering of the term Alagar. 

® This and the two following are the names of tanks, what we now call 
Fttskarani, to bathe in which was supposed to purify. The Sanskrit Purdnas 
are full of such lakes noted for their miraculous properties. 

® Sanskrit Istasiddhi, 

* A grammatical treatise by name Vinnavafhomdn Vilunul attributed to 
Indra. The reference in the Silaf-padihdram is possibly to the Aindra- 
Vydkaranam^ the oldest school of Sanskrit grammarians, known to and 
quoted by Panini and others. It is mentioned in Buddhist Canonical 
works like the Avaddnasataka (C. Lassen, L A. K., Vol. II, 2nd ed., p. 477); 
cf. Taranatha’s History of Indian Buddhism (Schiefner’s trans., p. 54). That 
this grammar was known to Tolkappiyanar is evident from the preface to the 
Tolkdppiyam. On this subject there is an excellent monograph by A. C. 
Burnell entitled On the School of Sanskrit Grammarians ^ 1875. 

® .\lso known as the Nupura-Ganga. We have, similarly, Akasa-G'anga, 
Patala-Ganga, etc. 

® The reference is to a YaksinL From the Rdmdyana of Valmiki we 
are led to infer that the Yaksas were one of the South Indian tribes con- 
temporaneous with the epoch of Ravana and Vali. The Yaksas were the ruling 
tribe in Ceylon in the fifth century b.c. when Vijaya landed there. But they had 

176 The Silappadikaram [.XL 112 

striking as lightning with cloud-like locks of dark hair, 
12-133 and wth serrated bracelets on her shoulders, saying : “Tell 
me what constitutes the happiness of this birth, ^ the happi- 
ness of the next^ and also eternal happiness^ which results 
neither in birth nor rebirth. I live on this mountain and 
my name is Varottama. To them who answer these 
questions I am bound in service. So, good people, if 
you give the right answer, I shall open the door (leading 
to this cave). On opening the door several passages with 
entrances will be revealed, and beyond them a gateway 
with double doors. Beyond that, a creeper-like lady re- 
sembling a picture"* will again appear before you asking, 
‘What is eternal bliss.'*’® If you reply, you will obtain 
one of three desired things.® But if you are not able to 
answer, I shall not harm you. You can go on your long 
journey; I shall help you.’’ 

‘If people answer her questions she will show them the 
three ponds mentioned above, and retire. If you bathe 
therein, desirous and uttering any one of these things, 
meditating upon and uttering with equal reverence the 
two great Vedic mantras of five letters^ and eight 

practically become extinct by tlie commencement of the Christian era though a 
few lingered here and there in forest regions. See Dikshitar’s paper ‘South 
India in the Ramayana’ in the Proceedings of the Seventh Oriental Conference, 
1933, p. 243 ff. 

^ Porul (Sans., artha) or wealth is said to constitute one’s happiness 
in this birth. The idea is that a man of no wealth will always feel miserable. 
See the Manavadharmasastra, ch. 2, st. 224 : Canakya Raja Niti Sdstra, 
canto iv, st. 21 ; also, Tirukkovai, st. 332. 

® Good and righteous deeds on earth contribute to happiness after death. 
The fruits of actions in this birth are judged and rewarded only in the next 
birth. This is, in other words, the theory of pre-ordained fate. 

® Salvation or freedom from the bondage of samsara or worldly life is 
said to be the highest of the Purusarthas. Cf. Kuralvet^hd^ 233 ; Puram., st. 50. 
See also Dikshitar, Hindu Administrative Institutions, p. 37. 

* The word vatfikai in the text means a picture or portrait. 

® Moksa is the term for this in Sanskrit literature. 

® The reference is to mupfdl or trivarga of Sanskrit literature. 

^ The significance of the Pancdksara mantra Namasivdya is brought 
out here. Constant meditation on it is said to rid one of all ills. Even today 
many orthodox Hindus are initiated by their gurus and continue meditating 
on this great mantra sacred to iSiva. 


XL 134] 


letters^ you will achieve results which cannot be realized 
even by the hardest of penances. 

‘If you do not desire these benefits, meditate on the 1 34-140 
lotus-feet of the Lord standing on that hill. If you so 
meditate, there will appear His lofty Eagle standard. By 
its mere sight and by meditation on His lotus-feet there 
will be no more rebirth. Rejoicing in that thought go 
to Madura of traditional glory. Such is the sight worth 
seeing in that cave. 

‘If you reject these routes, there is the straight path I 4 i“i 49 
that lies midway between them with pleasant villages and 
groves and several jungles therein. Beyond these dwells 
a terrific deity who appears to travellers, not causing 
fear but treating them with civility and causing no 
harm. If you escape this, the path to Madura will of 
itself be known to you. So depart and I shall go (to 
sacred places) to worship the feet of the Lord who 
measured the whole universe.’® 

After listening to the Brahmana’s account of the routes, 150-164 
the saint Kavundi made a categorical reply “ ‘O Brahmana 
versed in the four Vedas and engaged in doing good ! 

We have no wish to go to the cave. The literature given 
by Indra, who lives longer than the Devas, can be found 
in our holy scriptures.® If you wish to know of deeds 
done in the past, do you not look for them in the present 
birth.? Is there anything that cannot be gained by those 
who lead a life of truthfulness and non-injury?^ Go your 
way seeking the feet of the God sacred to you. We go 

^ This is the Astaksava ^Om namdndrdya^dya\ This statement is significant 
in as much as it proves that the spirit of sectarianism was still non-existent. 
For, while the Pancaksara is sacred to Siva, the Astdksara is sacred to 
Narayana or Visnu. It is said that the two mantras must be uttered with 
equal reverence. Belief in the efficacy of such mantras is still current. 

®The reference is to the Trivikrama Avatar of Visnu. 

® The Aindra-Vydkaranam, according to tradition, belongs to the Paramd- 
gamas of the Jains. 

* The chief Jaina doctrines. Here we may note Kavundi’s reply to the 
Brahmana who quoted his scriptures. In meeting all his three points she 
seems to imply that the Jaina scriptures contain these and more. 


178 The Silappadikaram [XL 165 

the way suited to us.’ After speaking words befitting the 
occasion to that Brahmana, she spent that day in a 
resting-place along with Kovalan who never swerved from 
his principles. 

165-191 Then they resumed their journey. One day, the sage 
Kavundi and the lady of the long dark eyes rested them- 
selves on the way owing to fatigue. From that place 
frequented (by people), an adjoining pathway branched 
off, which Kovalan took and reached a lake and stood on 
its great bank to slake his thirst. Then the forest-deity* 
passion-lorn and hoping that he might fall in love with 
her, appeared before him in the form of Vasantamala. 
Like a trembling creeper she fell at his feet and shed false 
tears saying, ‘Madavi told me, “I am not guilty of what 
I wrote on the fragrant garland. You must have told 
Kovalan some falsehood, which made him harsh towards 
me.” Saying this, she fell in a faint overcome by grief, 
but (recovering) said, “The worst of all careers is that of 
a courtesan, shunned like a disease by pious and learned 
men who avert their faces, and by people who can distin- 
guish right from wrong. In this way she burst into 
tears which dropped like pearls from her cool eyes, and 
with her hands she wrenched her string of lustrous white 
pearls and scattered them. Forsaken by her, and hearing 
the news from travellers on their way from the ancient 
city of Madura, I have come in great distress along with 
a caravan.^ Generous man, what relief can you give me?’ 

192-200 Having been apprised by the distinguished Brahmana 
that in that dreadful forest there was a luring deity, 

^ Belief in forest-deities was very usual* They were supposed to assume 
any form. For instance, the deity that appeared before Kovalan assumed 
the guise of Vasantamala, the maid in attendance on the courtesan Madavi* 

* See ManL, canto xxiv, 1. 79. The author ridicules the life of the 
courtesan by making Madavi herself condemn it* According to him any 
decent and self-respecting man looks upon a prostitute as the embodiment of 

® The word idfta (Sans, sdrtha) is a reference to the caravan trade 
carried on in those days between one part of the country and the other by 
groups of merchants. 


XL 201 ] 


Kovalan decided to employ the mantra to disillusion him- 
self about the identity of that lady. The mantra he uttered 
was the mantra^ sacred to the goddess riding on the deer,^ 
so that the deity went away confessing,^ ‘ I that deluded 
you am a spirit of the forest. Pray do not tell of this 
misdeed of mine to your wife, lovely as a peacock, or to 
the holy sage, but go your way.’ 

Carrying water in a lotus-leaf ‘ to the weary women 201-216 
he relieved them of their distressing thirst. Finding that 
it was not possible to proceed farther in that desert-region 
as the rays of the sun ascending the heavens increased in 
heat, Kovalan, Kannaki of the curved eai'-rings, and the 
saint, came upon a flowery grove of the kurava, kadamha, 
kongu and vengai, closely intertwined with one another. 

There they entered the shrine of Aiyai-kumari® who dwells 
in heaven, whose eye was in Her forehead and who 
was worshipped by the gods. From those hardy bow- 
men whose lands were un visited by rains, and whose 
bows were therefore their ploughs, and who deprived 
passers-by of their belongings, she expected sacrificiad 
offerings in return for Her blessing them with victory 
when, as if guided by Yama, they invaded the neighbour- 
ing territory with their cruel bows. 

^ Another instance of faith and belief in the efficacy of mantras. 

®This goddess is known by other names such as Antari, Sakti, or Xiy- 
kalaippavai. Kovalan shows here that he was a Sakti-upasaka, or a devout 
worshipper of the goddess as Sakti. For a history of the cult see R. G. Bhan- 
darkar, op. clt., pp. 142-6. 

^ Here is the deity’s confession of guilt. She could not withstand the 
efficacy of a Vedic mantra. 

* This shows that Kovalan and Kannaki did not even take a drinking 
vessel with them. 

® The deity worshipped by the Vaduvar or the Maravar. She is known 
by different names. Cf. Matsya Pur ana, chap. 154, st. 73-83, where the 
Creator addresses Vibhavari the night-deity. In the Harivamsa there is a 
hymn to Ipya (Durga) in which she is represented as the goddess of Sabaras, 
Pulindas, Barbaras, and other wild tribes, and as fond of wine and flesh. See 
R. G. Bhandarkar, op cit., p. 143. Aiyaikottam was the name of the temple 
where Kori^avai or the Goddess of Victory w^as enshrined. She is known as Kali 
or Mahakali in Sanskrit literature, and we thus see a marvellous blending 
of two ancient cultures, evolving what is known as the Sakti cult. 

Canto XII 



THE hunters’ song 

1-5 The sun continued to spread his cruel, fierce rays and 
made it impossible (for the travellers) to go on their 
journey. She of the fragrant locks of hair (Kannaki) 
breathed hard, and her tender feet were red with blisters : 
so they rested in an unfrequented place in the temple of 

6-1 1 Later, Salini,^ born in the family of the Maravar who 
ever had bows in their hands, began her dance with 
appropriate gestures and became possessed with divinity, 
her hair standing on end, and her hands raised aloft ; she 
continued to dance moving from one place to another to 
the wonderment of the foresters, in the many am, the 
common eating-place^ of the Eiyng.r''' situated in the midst 
of the village, encircled by a thorny fence. She then 
proclaimed aloud their unfulfilled vows thus : 

12-19 'The cattle-herds of the towns of your enemies are 
flourishing : the common places (manram) of the strong- 
bowed Eiynar are lying empty : the Eiynar of the Maravar 
tribe have become meek like persons observing dharma. 

1 From the earliest times Aiyai or Korravai has been the favourite deity of 
hunters in South India. The goddess was worshipped as the Goddess of 
Victory. Her temple was located in a manram in the middle of the village. 
A manram was a common meeting-place for village foUc, answering to the 
public hall of a town today. 

® A woman possessed with divinity. Generally, an old lady of the 
family of hunters who considered herself inspired and spoke out as if she 
were herself a goddess. 

® This points to the custom among the Maravar of eating from a 
common table. 

The expression in the text for this is Urmadu^mantccm, This implies 
that there were other manfams alsb. 

XII. 2 o] Vettuvavari i8i 

and no more rob the wealth of passers-by. Unless you 
render what is due to the goddess riding on the stag,^ 

She will not send victory to attend your bows, O ye that 
live by robbery If you desire to live merrily drinking 
toddy, render your dues.’ 

From among the ancient family of the Eiynar, who 20-50 
preferred offering their own heads in sacrifice to crema- 
tion"^ (after dying a natural death), a virgin® was chosen 
to represent the goddess. Her short hair was dressed in 
the form of a jata (the coiffure of : 5 iva), and ornamented 
with a small silver snake and a crescent-like semicircular 
tooth from wild hog which had destroyed tender plants 
in well-guarded fields. Her tali was a necklace made 
of white teeth plucked from a strong-limbed tiger,® and 
her girdle was a cleaned tiger-skin with mingjed spots 

^ The Maravar generally made a vow to their goddess just before an 
expedition to celebrate their hoped-for victory by a sacrificial offering. 

2 Kalittogai, st. 39, 11. 12-14. 

® The Maravar were addicted to drinking toddy, and their only occupation 
was highway robbery. 

It is remarkable to note that the method of disposal of the dead among 
this primitive tribe was cremation and not burial. It has been assumed by 
certain scholars that burial was a custom of the pre-Aryan tribes, and cre- 
mation was a later introduction. This statement of Ilangd-Adigal, who lived 
nearly one thousand eight hundred years before our time, is entitled to respect, 
and judged by this, it seems that both cremation and burial were as much 
the institutions of the Aryans as of the pre-Aryans. Both have been prevalent 
from prehistoric times, and it is impossible to decide which institution is the 

® Here we are introduced to the actual method of worship in vogue among 
these primitive tribes. It was usual to select a virgin from among their 
community and make her appear like the goddess installed in the shrine. 
This virgin was , taken in procession to the temple of their guardian-deity and 
worshipped in front of the shrine, where the goddess was said to appear and 
approve what the damsel spoke. The commentator Adiyarkkunallar is not clear 
here. He seems to take the virgin to be the idol enshrined in the temple itself. 
This cannot be accepted in the light of 11 . 72-3 where it is expressly stated 
that the Kumari in the shrine blessed the Kumari of the Eiynar. 

® The Eiynar decked their goddess with ornaments and clothes peculiar to 
their mores. For instance, a tiger-skin and an elephant-skin formed the 
clothing of their goddess. Similarly the teeth of the tiger formed her gar- 
land. From the description given it is to be understood that their virgin 
goddess becomes later on the consort of the God Siva and assumes all His 

i 82 The Silappadikaram [XII. 51 

and stripes on its outer surface. The bow in her hand was 
of heart- wood. She was mounted upon a stag with twisted 
horns. The Eiynar ladies, who feted her with offerings 
of dolls, parrots, wild fowls of soft feathers, blue peacocks, 
balls (pandu) and kalanku, followed her carrying paints, 
powders, cool and fragrant pastes, boiled grains, sweets 
of gingili seeds, rice with meat, flowers, frankincense, and 
fragrant scents, when she was taken before the shrine of 
Anangu who accepts sacrificial offerings in return for 
victory. This was accompanied by the beating of the 
drum used during highway robbery, and the blowing of 
the trumpet, generally heard when looting, the horn and 
the pipe, and the ringing of the loud bell, simultaneously. 
There she worshipped Her with the stag for Her mount, 
and became inspired. Pointing to Kannaki, of the 
fragrant locks of hair, standing with weary little feet by 
the side of her husband, she spake as follows ‘This is 
the lady of the Kongunadu, the mistress of the Kuda- 
malai (the western hills), the queen of the south Tamil 
country, and the sprout of her (Kannaki ’s) prior penance ; 
she is tirumdmani (literally, the bright jewel) far-famed as 
the peerless gem of the world. 

5i“53 At this Kannaki smiled a derisive smile and stood 
modestly behind the broad back of her dear husband 
thinking that this soothsayer spoke in ignorance. 

54-64 Just then. She who wore the moon in Her coiffure, 
who had an unwinking eye in Her forehead, coral lips. 

^ The inspired Salini could read the future and therefore foretold what 
Kannaki was to become. Neither Kannaki nor her party realized the 
inmplications of these statements and Kannaki showed that she had no faith 
in such reports. 

2 A note may be made of the significant terms orumdmani, and tirumdmav^i 
attributed to Kannaki by the inspired Salini. It is hot possible to get at 
the implications of these terms, but it is a remarkable coincidence that the 
Narrinai, another Sangam classic, refers to the incident of Kannaki’s casting 
off one of her breasts and uses the expression tirumamarpi. Perhaps it was 
the title given to Kapnaki after she was installed as the Goddess of Chastity. 
This reference is enough to show that the Narrinai belongs to the post- 
Silappadikdram epoch. 


XII. 64] 


white teeth, a throat darkened by poison,^ who had the 
serpent Vasuki of unquenchable ire for Her girdle, and 
mount Meru for Her shoulder-bangles, whose breasts were 
enclosed within a bodice resembling a serpent’s venomous 
teeth, and who wore elephant hide for Her upper garment 
and a lion’s (tiger’s?) skin for Her petticoat, (appeared), 
with a trident in Her bangled hands. Her left foot was 
adorned with silambu and the right with a victorious anklet. 
Skilled in sword-fighting, the Lady who stood on the head 
of the double-bodied broad-shouldered Asura,^ the god- 
dess worshipped by many, Kumari, Kavuri (Sans., Gauri),® 
^amari (Sans., Samharl or the slayer), the holder of the 
trident, She whose hue is blue, the younger sister of 
Visnu^ the giver of victory, the holder of the cruel axe, 
Durga,® LaksmI, Sarasvati,® the image adorned with rare 
gems, the ever -youthful Kumari whom Visnu and 
Brahma came to worship, declared the form and attire of 
the divinity-possessed Kumari quite god-like. 


(The glory of the courtyard) 

In front of the sacrificial altar of the Goddess who sits 
by the side of the three-eyed God, the ndgam and the 

^ Sans., Nilahan-flii, 

® The deity is named MahisasuramardanL The Story of the Devi who 
destroyed the demon in the shape of a buffalo is found in almost all the 

® For an interpretation of the term Gauri, see Dikshitar’s article 
‘Umagauri’ in the Kalaimagal, Vol. Ill, p. 227 ff. 

According to literary tradition, as embodied in legends, Durga is 
the sister of Visnu. According to the Harivamia the Devi was born to 
Ya^oda, and when she was dashed against a stone, she attained heaven. 
Hence she is said to be a sister of Vasudeva — Krsna. 

Durga described as Siva-Sakti- 

® It is remarkable to find a total absence of sectarianism in the 
^ilappadikdram. Kumari is addressed as Durga who rode a stag, as LaksmT 
(Faimdotippavai) and as Sarasvati (the deity sacred to learning), the respective 
consorts of the Hindu triad, Siva, Visnu and Brahma. 

^ These three stanzas are addressed to the glory of the courtyard of the 
shrine dedicated to Aiyai. It was adorned by a grove of trees bearing 
flowers of different hues and fragrance. 

184 The Silappadikaram [XII 

sweet narandai flowered luxuriantly ; everywhere the deed 
tree and the sandal rose high : also the se tree and the 
mango were thick with foliage. 

In front of the shrine of Her who wears the crescent 
in Her coiffure, the vengai tree shed its golden flowers : 
numerous were the branches of the excellent ilava (cotton) 
tree. The punga let fall its white petals. 

In front of the shrine of the younger sister of Visnu, 
blossomed the Tzadamha tree, the pddiri, punnai, odorous 
kuravu, and kdngu ; and on their branches swarms of bees 
hummed as if playing upon the ydl. 


(The Kurava girl said) ‘O, how wonderful is the pen- 
ance of this damsel of golden ornaments who stands here 
assuming the form and adornment of the Goddess of 
Victory ! The only family worthy of mention is that of 
the hunter-archers,^ in which this damsel of golden bangles 
was born. 

‘O, how wonderful is the penance of this damsel with 
a waist like the hood of a cobra, ^ who now stands adorned 
with the decoration of Aiyai ! The only family worthy of 
mention is that family of the Eiynar who used to shoot 
their arrows, in which she was born. 

‘O, how wonderful is the penance of this damsel of 
lovely bangles who stands with the trappings of Her who 
rides fast upon the stag ! The only family worthy of 

^ The editor of the text informs us that, according to some manuscripts, 

this and the following two stanzas are in the praise of Salini engaged in 


® We get further light on the customs and manners of the Ma^avar. 
They were great hunters and archers. If we compare their mode of living 
with the elaborate and luxurious life said to have been led both by town folk 

and village folk in other parts of the book, we have only to infer that persistence 

is writ large in the cultural development of the ancient Tamils, Their primitive 
occupations have been continued down to historical times. 

3 word algul which occurs frequently in Tamil classics is very difficult 

to translate. It seems to stand for that part of the abdomen below the 

XII] Vettuvavari 185 

mention is that family of the Eiynar with bamboo bows, 
in which this damsel of lovely bang-les was born.’ 


'How is it that you, who receive the worship of all 
gods and stand undaunted as the sprouting wisdom in 
the Veda of all Vedas, once stood upon the dark head of 
the wild buffalo, clad in a tiger’s skin and covering your- 
self with an elephant's skin? 

‘How is it that you who stand as the shining light 
spreading its rays over the lotus-heart of Hari, Hara and 
Brahma, also stood upon the stag with the dark-twisted 
horns, after slaying Mahisasura, holding your sword in 
your bangled hands? 

'How is it that you who stand praised by the Vedas 
as the consort of Him who has an eye in His forehead 
and the Ganges in His coiffure, stood upon a fierce red- 
eyed lion,*’ holding a conch and discus in your lotus- 
hands ?’ 

There, ^ 

With a garland made of the konrai flower and with a 
shoulder-garment of basil leaves, this damsel in the form 
of Kumari, began dancing to the delight of the Devas, 
and to the distress of the Asuras. 


Sword in hand, and to the repeated tinkling of her 
metal-filled anklet, her bracelet, and her waist-band all of 

^ The Hon is the steed of Durga. Legend has it that Vibliavari, the Goddess 
of Night, entered into Uma’s body at the order of the Creator. After Uma’s 
marriage with Siva, Vibhavarl was ordered to leave Uma’s body and reside 
in the Vindhya hills. Here the Devi was given a Hon to ride. See Matsya 
Purai^a, ch. 157. Treatises on architecture in Sanskrit and the evidence of 
sculpture testify that the lion was invariably the steed of this goddess as 
was the stag also. It is but natural that a daughter of the Great Mountain 
thick with forests, should have the stag or the Hon as her favourite animal. 

® What follows is the dance of victory by Durga. 


The Silappadikaram [XII 

gold, our Goddess danced the marakkdV' to vanquish the 
deceitful Asuras who also bore swords. If She, sword in 
hand, could perform that dance on the marakkdl to van- 
quish the deceitful Asuras, who also bore swords, the 
gods would praise Her of the hue of hay a, and shower 
flowers on Her with their hands. 

At the time when an unrivalled and fierce warrior of 
a small village sets out to seize the enemy’s cattle,® and 
is desirous of wearing the vetci garland,® he invokes the 
aid of the Goddess who slays with Her shining sword. O 
if he should desire to wear the vetci garland and invoke 
the aid of Her who slays with the bright sword, the king- 
crow* of the forest will send forth its ominous note in the 
enemy’s village. 

When the female vendor of toddy® refuses to serve 
the angry Maravan he will draw his bow, and observing 
the good omen of birds, start out in search of the enemy’s 
cattle. And at the time when he goes out in search of the 
enemy’s cattle, observing the omen of birds, the Goddess 
of Victory will raise Her lion-standard and march in front 
of his bow.*" 

^ Arumpadavuraiyasiriyar explains thus : ‘When the Asuras sent illusory 
reptiles and scorpions over Her, Durga with wooden legs danced with a 
spear in Her hand.’ This is called the marakkdl dance of Durga. 

® Karandai is a theme for recovering a herd of cattle captured by the 
enemy and is regarded as a declaration of war. Karandaiyar are those 
warriors who rescue the cattle seized by the enemy. See Tamil Lexicon, p, 743. 
Here we have to note that cattle-lifting was one of the causes of ancient 
Tamil warfare. 

3 Cf. Pura. venbdmdlaif ‘Vetci’, st. 3, where cattle-lifting is under reference. 
The vetci garland was a symbolical representation of success over an enemy. 

* The crying of the king-crow is a bad omen. This points to the custom 
of foretelling future events from the actions of birds. It may be remembered 
that in ancient Rome there was an augur — a religious official who foretold 
future events by omens taken from the actions of birds. Such superstitious 
beliefs were common in the ancient world. 

® The implication is that the Eiynar has failed to pay his old dues 
owing to poverty, because of slackness in his profession whioh consisted of 
looting his neighbours’ cattle, 

^ The flag of ali is appropriate to the goddess whose steed was a lion. 





‘O young maid with lovely teeth, behold ! The great 
herds of cattle, which your elders brought by capture in 
former times, have filled the courtyards of the blacksmiths,^ 
drummers, and celebrated bards who play on the yal. 

‘O girl with white teeth, behold ! The herds of cattle, 
captured by your elders to the distress of their defenders, 
have filled the courtyards of the women who sell toddy, of 
the expert forest spy, and of the soothsayers who interpret 
bird omens. 

‘O girl with eyes smeared with collyrium and like 
kdya flowers, behold ! The big herds of cattle, seized by 
your elders causing distress to the enemy’s villages, have 
filled the courtyards of the grey-moustached Eiynar of un- 
sympathetic speech, and of their old women.’ 


A gain, ^ 

‘We have worshipped your two feet that graciously 
relieve the suffering of the Devas and the Munis who roam 
in company of the sun. Now accept this blood,'* by 
cutting our necks, as the price of the victory you confer 
upon the brave and strong Eiynar. 

See Puram., st. 312. Distribution of the captured property was made 
among blacksmiths, spies, soothsayers, toddy-sellers, bards and drummers. 
Special mention may be made of the use of spies by the Eiynar. 

Turaippdttu is a verse which illustrates minor themes in Aham. and 
Pur am. 

® This and the following two stanzas are styled avippali by the com- 
mentator. Here is an allusion to the tradition that sages like the Valakhilyas 
go with the sun as he moves. See Puram., st, 43, and Tirumurugd,^ 1 . 107 
and the commentary thereon. See Matsya Purd't^.a, ch. 126, st. 28-45 ; 
Brahmdnda Purdna^ ch. 23. It is said that as many as seven ganas including 
gods and sages followed the sun in his course. The other five are the Nagas, 
Yaksas, Gandharvas, Apsaras, and Raksasas. 

* Also Kurutippali : see Adiyarkkunallar’s gloss. 

The idea of a human sacrifice belongs to the primitive neolithic peoples, 
and it would not be far from the truth to consider these hunters to be the 
descendants of early neolithic inhabitants of South India. See also 
F. J. Richards’s article ‘Sidelights on the Dravidian Problem’ in the Q.J.M.S,, 
Vol. VI, pp. 156-201, 


The Silappadikaram [XII 

‘We have worshipped the lotus-feet of you who are 
like a blue gem, and who are worshipped by the gods along 
with their crowned king. Accept the flesh and blood 
offered to you as the price of the great victory you confer 
upon the Eiynar, in their seizure of herds of cattle. 

‘O Kumari ! Accept the blood of sacrifice^ at your 
altar in fulfilment of the oath made, touching your feet, 
by the tiger-like Eiynar, who sally forth in the dead of 
night, with tudi, the small parai, and the pipe, sounding 
as if to pierce the sky.’ 


‘O ^ankari, Antari, Nili, who wear in your coiffures 
the red-eyed serpent along with the crescent ! Accept this 
sacrifice from the Eiynar with strong bows and arrows, 
and in answer to our prayer grant that travellers® may 
come oftener that (by robbing them) we may increase our 
riches . 

‘O you, who blessed the Devas, who had to face death 
in spite of having drunk nectar ! O you, who are immortal 
even though you drank the poison which can be drunk by 
no one, eat this offering made by us, the heartless Eiynar, 
who enter neighbouring villages when all are sleeping, and 
sound our Uidis before we plunder them. 

‘O you, who blessed all by kicldng the rolling wheel 
sent in disguise by your uncle (Kamsa)^ and walked 
through the maruda tree,® accept this offering given as 

^ It is evident that the time of sacrifice and worship by these hunters 
was the dead of night, when the whole world was sleeping- 

^ The following three stanzas describe the actual offering of sacrifice. 

^ These hunters pray for the prosperity of travellers because they are one 
source of their livelihood, 

^ P'or a version of this legend see the Bhdgavata Purdna^ Bk. X, ch. 7, 
St, 6-7. Kamsa sent an Asura in the form of a rolling wheel which the 
baby Kpsna kicked, and broke to pieces. 

ibid, ch. 10, St. 23 ff. The reference is to two Gandharvas who became 
two arjuna trees by the curse of Narada. Krsna, being a mischievous baby, 
was one day tied to a mortar by his mother. With that he ran between 
the two trees, making them prostrate on the earth. This relieved both the 

V ettuvavari 



your due, by us the ungrateful Eiynar, who know nothing 
but how to rob people of their wealth and cause^ un- 


May the Pandyan greedy for victory, and the Lord of 
the lofty, fertile Podiyil hill where dwells the sage next 
in rank to Brahma^ who gave us the Vedas, wear the 
vetci flower in his crown leading to the ruin of his 
enemy ^s camp and of the defence of their cattle. 

Gandharvas from the curse of the sage. The Parana, Bk. V, ch. 6, 

St, gives a slightly different version of this incident as also of the 

breaking of the wheel by Krsjpa. 

^ Cf. KaHttogai, st. 15, where this very line occurs as if one is a copy 
of the other. 

® Agastya was born after Brahma according to Adiyarkkunallar. But 
the Arumpada'vurai says that he was born after Mahesvara- Naccinarkkiniyar 
is unable to accept this view. See Maduraikkdfiji, 11 . 40-2 , commentary. See 
also Matsya Purdtia, (ch- 61, st. 17 f.), where he is said to have been born 
from a pitcher and as a brother of Vasi.stha. 

Canto XIII 




I— 14 After the departure of iSalini, the female religious 
dancer, Kovalan paid his respects to the feet of the first 
among saints (Kavundi) and said : 

‘This girl cannot stand the scorching rays of the sun : 
and her tender feet can no more endure the gravel of this 
barren region. As this is the kingdom of the Pandyan of 
the righteous sceptre,^ whose fame has spread far in all 
directions, the fierce bear will not hunt the terrible 
ant-hill,^ the striped tiger will not be at enmity with the 
deer ; the reptile, the malignant spirit, the crocodile in 
search of its prey, and thunder will cause no distress to 
friends. Instead of travelling by daylight, we can cross 
this forest by night in the light of the moon who protects 
many living beings. “ We will suffer no harm.’ 

The saint accepted the sugggestion with approval. 

15—29 Before these travellers, who awaited the departure of 
the cruel sun like the subjects of a tyrannical king,^ 
appeared the ancestor of the Pandyas,® the moon, with 

^ The poet ironically makes Kovalan refer to the righteous sceptre of 
the Pandyan when he first enters the city of Madura where, later, injustice 
is done to him. 

® Notice the author’s correct knowledge of the habits of animals. It is 
said that the bear eats from the futUt. The implication here is that even wild 
animals behaved righteously in the Pandyan kingdom. 

® The days were so hot that night travelling was preferred. 

■* Cf. Perumkadat, Bk. LII, canto i, I. 81 ; also Perwnpdnarruppadai^ II. 42-3. 
The subjects of a cruel king look forward anxiously to the departure of their 

* Tradition attributes the Pandyan dynasty to a branch of the lunar 
race. See Sila., canto iv, 1 . 22. Recent investigations have not thrown much 
light on the origin of this ancient dynasty, which is certainly more ancient than 
the visit of Megasthenes to India. Ktesias refers to a people called Pandore 

XIII. 3o] Puranceriimttakadai 191 

his retinue of stars, spreading his milk-white rays, when 
Mother Earth heaved a deep sigh and fell asleep after 
expressing pity (on Kannaki) in the words : 

‘Dear girl, up to this time thou hast not suffered either 
the starlike necklace or the sandal-paste to adorn thy 
young breasts ; thou hast not permitted thy locks of hair 
to be dressed with the flower-dust-laden lily linked up in 
a chain with other flowers ; thou hast not allowed thy 
body, soft as a tender shoot, to be decorated with gar- 
lands, made from the fresh petals of many a flower. Art 
thou now attracted by the south wind, born in the Malaya 
hills, nourished in Madura and ever on the tongues of 
poets, blowing over thee, and by the spring moon shed- 
ding his milk-white rays copiously upon thee?’ 

Kovalan said to his wife, fatigued by the journey : 30-33 
‘This night,’ the tiger will cross our path, the owl will 
screech, the bear will make a thundering sound ; but walk 
fearlessly on.’ He placed her fair arms shining with 
bangles to rest upon his shoulders. 

Then they passed through the forest listening to the 34-37 
righteous words of all-knowing^ and venerable Kavundi, 
till a wild fowl, dwelling in a thicket of bamboos which 
had been scorched by the hot sun, announced the approach 
of dawn. 

(At that time) they reached a village inhabited by 38-5 2 
Brahmanas,^ who wore the sacred thread but who were 

while Clitarchus and Megasthenes call them Mandi (Pandai?). See Ancient 
India by J. N. McCrindle, Frag. XXX. In the present state of our knowledge 
the theory of an indigenous origin of the dynasty lacks much force and can be 
said to be inconclusive. See Studies in Tamil Literature and History^ p. 179* 
for their probable origin. 

^ According to Adiyarkkunallar, this day was the last day of the month 
of Ani (June- July). 

2 She was well read in works of dharma. Evidently Sanskrit learning 
had come to stay in the Tamil land much earlier than is generally supposed. 

^ A community of Brahmanas, but coming low in the social hierarchy. 
They are said to be amhanavar who took to the profession of acting and 
dancing. As they did not pursue their svadharma society regarded them as 
socially inferior. The position which the Brahmana held in society in the age 
of the Sangam classics is clear. There was the Vedic Brahmana engaged in 

ig 2 The Silappadikaram [Xlll. 53 

given to music and dancing, having fallen from the Vedic 
life.^ Kovalan lodged the holy saint and his loving wife 
in a harmless place ; and crossing a fence of thorns, he 
passed along a great road in search of water for his morn- 
ing ablutions. (On his way) he recalled the journey in 
that forest alongside his wife and sighed heavily like a 
bellows. His grief burnt within him. Even his form 
looked altered, and clouded the vision of Kausikan,^ who, 
without recognizing him, addressed the green-leaved 
kurukkatti in whose shade he was standing ; 'O madavi^ 
plant, with all thy flowers fallen down, unable to bear the 
heat of summer, thou seemest to be distressed, even like 
the flower-like Madavi of long eyes who has fallen into 
deep affliction unable to bear Kovalan’ s separation from 

53—78 Kovalan who was listening to these words of the 
Brahmana Kausikan asked, ‘What is it you are saying.^’ 
The young Kausikan went up to him and exclaimed : 
‘There need be no more anxiety : I have found him.’ He 
then narrated all that had happened in Puhar, as follows ; 
his (Kovalan’s) wealthy father and pious mother are like 

reading and teaching the Vedas and also in performing Vedic sacrifices. 
He evoked respect from every one. There was the lauklka Brahmana who 
strayed from the prescribed path and took to professions other than those 
enjoined by the law of the land. In the Ahandniiru (st. 24) we have the 
expression velappdrppdn meaning Brahmana engaged in making bangles. 
Among the lauktkas come the amhanavar also. The term urpdfppdn in 
South Indian Inscriptions is another reference to the lauklka members of the 
Brahmana community. This only shows that in addition to the Vedic Brahma- 
nas there also existed Brahmanas who took to worldly professions, and to whom 
society did not give the same status as that enjoyed by Vedic Brahmanas. 

^ Cf. Kuralvenhd^ i33"4* 

® The commentator interprets Kosikan as Bandikosikan. It may also be 
Bandakau^ikan. Apparently this Brahmana belonged to the well-known Kau^- 
sika goira. The suffix mdni in 1 . 56 shows that he was a bachelor and 
still in the first stage of life (dsrama). Both terms Kosikan and Kausikan 
are used. 

^ Kurukkatti is the madavi plant, and the reference to paialai or green 
leaves shows that the season was summer. The madavi plant is compared to 
the courtesan MMavi. The distress to the plant is caused by the departure of 
spring, and to the courtesan by the departure of Kovala^i. 

XIII. 79] Puranceriiruttakadai 193 

a serpent that has lost its priceless jewel ; his near re- 
lations have drowned themselves in an ocean of sorrow like 
bodies deprived of their souls ; his servants have departed 
to different regions determined to find him out and bring him 
(Kdvalan) back ; the very city of Puhar of ancient fame 
has gone mad — like Ayodhya’ at the separation of the 
great hero (Rama) who (left it and) penetrated the thick 
jungles saying, ‘To me the kingdom is nothing, but my 
father’s command is everything’ ; — Madavi who heard (the 
news) from Vasantamala’s lips, lost her colour and turned 
green, and fell in a swoon upon the decorated bed in the 
bedchamber in the middle part of her tall mansion. Kausi- 
kan then continued : ‘Much moved by her extreme agony 
I went to console her,® when that sorrow-stricken lady 
said : “I prostrate myself before your feet ; kindly see 
that I suffer no more.” She then wrote out a message 
with her tender hands and gave it to me saying, ” Please 
hand this sealed palm-leaP to him who is as dear to me 
as the jewel of my own eye”.’ • He,' the performer of 
Vedic sacrifices, concluded by saying that he went to several 
places aimlessly with that message. 

He said all this in good faith, and placed in Kdvalan’s 79*’9* 
hands the leaf, given him by the grief-stricken creeper- 
like Madavi, with the flowerbuds in her hair. The seal 
reminded him of the fragrance of her tresses which she 
had dressed with perfumed oil during his stay with her. 

^ The capital of Dasaratha, king of Ayodhya, presented a deserted 
appearance at the news of Rama’s entering the forest under the orders of 
his father. (See Rdmdyana, ‘ Ayodhya ch. 48.) This shows that the epic 
tradition of the Rdmdyana had become popular in the Tamil land in the early 
centuries of the Christian era. 

® It was the Brahmana Kausikan who brought Madavi’s message to 
Kovalan. In those days it seems to have been a custom for Brahmanas to 
have free entry into the women’s apartments, and give succour to them 
whenever they needed aid. Also Brahmanas were sent on errands either for 
the state or on private business. 

^ The message was written on a palm-leaf. It was sealed before it 
was handed over. It is known as canditakam^ with an ola envelope to an ola 
letter, shaped in the form of a ring. (See Tamil Lexicon, p. 1268.) That the 
sealing of letters was common is also evident. 


194 The Silappadikaram [XIII. 93 

and he was therefore loath to break it open. But as he 
opened the palm-leaf, he read these words 

'My Lord, I fall prostrate before your feet. Kindly 
forgive my indiscreet words. What is my mistake which 
made you leave (our city) during the night with your wife 
of noble birth, even without the knowledge of your parents ? 
My mind suffers in ignorance. Please relieve me. O great 
and true one of exquisite wisdom, may you bless me !’ 

93-101 When he had read these words he felt, ‘She is not in 
the wrong ; I alone am to blame’ , and gave Kausikan back 
(the message) as if to explain his departure, saying ‘The 
contents of this sealed letter are quite fit to be seen by 
my faultless parents. I bow at their lotus-feet. O young 
Kausikan, show it to them so that they may cease to be 
anxious about me and be free from their agony. 
Please go.’ 

1 02-1 14 Afterwards he went back to the place where the holy, 
righteous Kavundi was staying with his faultless and 
chaste wife, and there he joined the company of bards who 
were singing (in praise of) Durga’s valorous dance. He 
took up the sengotti yaF and sounding the sentiram,^ he 
fastened up tantirikaram and tivavu,'^ joined properly parru 
with the existing orri^ruppuF tied up the strings starting 
from ulai and ending with kaikkilai, tested carefully with 
his ear the dsdnriram^ of pdtarpdnV sacred to Durga, at 

^ This is Madavi’s message. The implication is that she had done noth- 
ing to cause his final departure or separation from her. Even if she had 
committed . a fault, she suggests that it was no greater than his own 
mistake in leaving his residence and city without the permission and know- 
ledge of his aged parents. Her letter was so convincing that Kovalan thought 
it fit to redirect it to his parents to keep them informed of his situation. 

® One of the four kinds of ydl (see Intro., p. 61), 

® Sentiram constituted of pan (sampuranam)j panmyarriram {sddavam)i 
tiram (audavam) and tirattiram {caturttam). See Adiyarkkunallar’s gloss, 
P- 349- 

* Two of the six limbs of the Sengotti yah 

® Orru was a limb of the Sengotti ydl and orrariippu is probably a fret. 

® Four kinds of dsdn : Gdnddram, Stkaridi, Dasdkari, and 3 uddagdndd- 


^ Here was a mixing up of pai^. and tiram. See above, canto vii, st. 24. 


XIII. 1 15 ] Puranceriiruttakadai 

three places {tdnam) according to well recognized conven- 
tions and after playing the pdtarpdni with those pdnar, he 
asked them the distance from there to Madura (Kudal). 

They replied : ‘Do you not feel here the south windii5“i34 
blowing from Madura? It is mingled with the divinely 
fragrant, thin soft mixture made up of the black akil paste, 
the odorous kunkuniam flower, civet, the excellent sandal- 
paste, and the paste made from the musk of deer. On its 
way it rests for a while in the newly-opened flower-buds 
of the pollen-laden water-lily, maidenly campakam, madavi 
petals, jasmine (mallikat) , and home-grown mullai. It then 
mixes with the smoke rising from kitchens, the smoke of 
the broad bazaar where numbers of cooks fry cakes in pans, 
the fragrant fumes rising from terraces where live men and 
women, the smoke of sacrificial offerings, and various 
other sweet fumes. It finally issues with innumerable and 
indistinguishable odours from the palace of the conquering 
Pandyan wearing (Indra’s) garland^ on his broad chest, 
and fills all places with its oppressive perfume. This is 
much unlike the south wind coming from the Podiyil hills, 
which is often praised by the unfaltering tongues of 
(Sangam) poets. ^ Therefore that prosperous city is not 
very far from here. Though you go alone, none will 
obstruct you.’"^ 

Afterwards Kovalan and Kannaki began their journey 135- 150 
by night, as previously, in company with the lady of great 
penance. On their way they heard the thundering sounds 
of the morning drum,® beaten with great eclat in the great 

^ This clearly demonstrates that Kovalan was a master-musician and 
was equal to experts in his knowledge of playing the lute. 

2 For the tradition of the Pandyan wearing Indra’s garland see above, 
canto xi, 11. 24-5. 

® The reference here is to Sangam poets who have sung the glories of 
the Podiyil in many a song. This establishes the antiquity of the Sangam 
as an institution regarded so even in the days of the Silappadikdram. 

* This indicates the hospitality offered to aliens in ancient Madura. 

® Drums were usually beaten in the morning both in the temple and 
at the palace. 

ig6 The Silappadikaram [XIIL 15 1 

temple of Siva and other gods, and in the celebrated 
palace of the far-famed king ; (they further heard) the 
chanting according to established rules by Brahmanas who 
knew the four Vedas, ^ and the speech of penance-per- 
formers engaged in instruction. (They also heai'd) the 
usual daily sound of the mulavu in honour of the king’s 
sword-warriors^ who would not return from the field with- 
out victory, the uproar of war-elephants captured in 
battle, the screams of wild elephants captured in the 
forests, the neighing of horses standing in line, the beat 
of the kinai drums'^ at daybreak by dancing minstrels, and 
other tumultuous noises arising from Madura, all of which 
rivalled the roaring of the dark sea. These noises seemed 
to welcome the travellers and made them forofet all their 

1 51-173 The divine damsel, by name Vaigai, who is ever on 
the tongues of the poets, celebrated by them for her right 
conduct in offering protection to the world, and who be- 
longs to the Pandyas, resembled a flawless noble* maiden 
with robes of different flowers® fallen from the date- 
palm, vakulam, red cotton tree, vengai, white kadamham, 
ndgam, tilakam, marudam, jasmine, pear tree, the tall oam- 
pakam, and papdam ; with her banks the zone of her broad 
algul, studded with kuruku, golden jasmine, musundai with 
thick creeper, blossoming wild jasmine (atiral), the white 

^ Vedic chanting was usually heard everywhere in the mornings* Is it 
a reference to the chanting of Sattram-Yajur-Aruiiaiu? 

“ This may be a reference to a festival of arms. The playing on mulavu is 

said to be a daily function and is generally in honour of soldiers who fought 

to the end without retreating from the field of battle. 

® Kinainilai is the theme of the song in praise of a Vellala chief to the 

accompaniment of a kinai drum. It was generally performed by dancing 

minstrels called kinaipporunar. 

* The term poyya applied to the river means it was everflowing. And 
these waters prevented alien kings from entering the Pandyan capital. It 
was a kind of nadldurga or river-fortress. 

® The river Vaigai is described as a lady, wearing flower-robes, her 
banks representing her girdle, islets her breasts, midlais her teeth, carps her 
eyes, and the flowing water her wavy hair. 

XIII. 174] Puranceriiruttakadai 197 

hutdlam, kudasam, vediram, luxuriant pakanrai creepers, 
pidavam and Arabian jasmine closely intermingled ; 
flowery islets — ^being accumulations of sand, facing one 
against the other, and richly covered by many flower trees 
growing thickly on their sides — her young and beautiful 
breasts ; the red flowery tree shedding its flowers on her 
banks, her red mouth, and the mullais brought by the 
current, her lovely teeth ; the carps that frisked along, 
hiding and revealing themselves alternately, her long 
eyes ; the flowing water, never without odorous flowers, 
her tresses.^ 

She (the Vaigai) covered herself with the holy robes 
of sweet flowers and restrained the flow of tears that filled 
her eyes^ as if she knew the trouble in store for youthful 

Kannaki and Kovalan who had followed a foot-path 174-180 
through the forest (reached the river and) praised it 
extravagantly saying,® ‘0 this is no stream of waters, 
but a stream of flowers.’ They avoided the great 
thronged landing-stages where all the different boats 
were moored, some shaped like horses, some like 
elephants and others like lions.* Instead, they crossed 
over the river on a raft, accompanied by the saint, to 
a fragrant grove full of beauteous flowers on the southern 

They regarded it as an act of great merit to circum- 181-190 
ambulate the city, the dwelling-place of gods, and they 
went round the moat enveloped by the indestructible forest 

' Aral may mean thin black sand, or flowing water. Both are generally 
compared to the curls of ladies’ hair. 

^ Here the Vaigai is compared to a lady sympathizing with Kannaki ’s 

^ The river Vaigai was worshipped by the three travellers as the divine 
stream. Cf. Sita worshipping the Ganges and other rivers when she was leaving 
for the Dan^aka forest. 

Rafts of logs were also not uncommon. Evidently boat-building as an 
industry was in existence. 

igS The Silappadikaram [XIII. 191 

of defence/ At that time, the dark water-lily, dmhal, and 
the lotus, as if they understood for certain the unparalleled 
trouble in store for Kannaki and her husband, seemed to 
quake with grief (represented) by the waving of their 
sterns^ and their eyes filled with tears, while the bees that 
rested (in them) seemed to produce a mounring note in a 
spirit of sympathy* Lofty flags that^ were set upon the 
outer wall of the fortress in commemoration of victory over 
enemies, seemed to say by a deprecating wave of hands 
'Do not come (into the city)/ 

191—196 The travellers passed through fertile paddy fields filled 
with birds and groves and entered the suburbs of the 
ancient city-fortress,^ inhabited by none other than the men 
practising dharma, with residential quarters intersected by 
streams of fresh floods, lakes of expansive waters, fruit- 
bearing coconuts, plantain trees, arena palms, and bam- 
boo sheds"' for supplying water. 

* A forest which served as a defence surrounded the moat encircling the 
city fortress. 

® Their shaking is caused by the wind waving their stems, and the tears 
are drops of honey. 

3 The capture of the flags of the enemy was a sign of victory. After 

capture they were usually fixed on the outer wall of the fortress. The flag 

'waving its hands means that the wind blew against it and thus seemed to 
urge the travellers to go back. 

■* The suburbs near the forest wall (pu^anceri) were the residential quarters 
of the penance-performers, ascetics and other sadhus. 

® This shows that rest-houses were erected at important places for 

travellers and the chief material used for such buildings was bamboo. Cf. 

Asoka’s inscriptions where this emperor is said to have built rest-houses on 
the roads. 

Canto XIV 



To the singing of birds in the suburban groves, in the 1-14 
tracts of shining water, and in the paddy fields bent with 
the weight of crops, the sun, an object of worship by the 
whole world, made the lotus in the lake open its petals, 
and awoke to the morning half-light the inhabitants of 
lofty Madura of the Pandyan who held the sword that 
made his enemy’s heads tremble. At that time the thun- 
der of the morning drum rose high accompanied by the 
blowing of the white conch from the temples^ of :Siva with 
the forehead eye, of Visnu with the Garuda standard, of 
Baladeva with the plough, and of Subrahmanya with the 
cock-flag, and from the residences^ of those proclaiming 
dharma,^ as well as from the palace of the victorious king/ 

Kovalan went to make obeisance with his hands to i5"‘24 
the saint Kavundi and said ‘O saint distinguished for 
great penance, as one who has strayed from the righteous 
path, I am in the abject condition of seeing this girl, tender 
as a flower, suffer great pain by wandering through 
unknown lands. Until I return after informing the 

^ Cf. Mani.f canto v, 1 . 54. 

^ The terms used in the text to denote a temple are koil, niyamam^ 
nakaram, kdttam and palli. The last term, palli, is invariably used in con- 
nexion with Jaina temples. 

® Cf. Mani.^ canto i, 11 . 54-5. For an explanation of the term aratturai see 
Kurahjenbd 41, et seq. The turat of tuiavaram constitutes carya, kriya, yoga 
and jildnam : the means of attaining yoga are eightfold. (See Talk., ‘Puratt.’, 
sutra 20 and the commentary of Naccinarkkiniyar thereon.) 

* The turai of mar am is sevenfold : vetci, karandai, vanji^ hanji, nocct, 
uUnaiy and tumbai. See Pura.^ veinhdmdlai. The reference here is to seven 
kinds of conquest. Cf. Studies in Tamil Literature and History ^ pp. 239-42. 

® A confession by Kovalan of his guilt. 

200 The Silappadikaram [XIV. 25 

princely merchants^ of this ancient city about my situation, 
this lady of mine will be under your protection.^ Have 
you any objection to that, O holy saint?’ 

25-34 To this Kavundi replied : ‘Because your good deeds 
in past births are exhausted, you and your lady-love now 
experience unequalled distress. Though virtuous men 
proclaim eloquently with the drumstick of their tongues 
on the drum of their mouths, “Avoid the path of 
unrighteousness ; if not, it will lead to bitter reaction,” 
still those who are by nature bad will not take this precept 
to heart. But when an evil deed brings its own reaction, 
they become maddened excessively by misery born of igno- 
rance. On the other hand wise and learned people will 
not grieve when the unavoidable reaction of past karma 
shows itself. 

35-49 ‘The suffering at parting from one’s love, the suffering 
leading to the union of lovers, and the suffering caused 
by the formless god (Cupid) visit only those who enjoy 
the love of curly-headed maidens, and not sages who lead 
a life of celibacy. Many in the world have fallen into dire 
distress by regarding women and food as objects of plea- 
sure, and seeing this, sages have relinquished the desire for 
both. Not only now but many times in the past man has 
been entrapped by the wiles of a love based on desire and 
endless suffering. Do you not know that he® who went 
with his wife (into the forest) on the command of his father 
(Dasaratha) and suffered great agony at her (subsequent) 
separation, was the father of Him who revealed the 
Vedas Is it not a long-remembered fact? 

^ Literally, Vai^yas next in rank to the Ksatriya caste. 

® Here Kovalan seems to imply that Kannaki was already under the pro- 
tection of Kavundi and was to continue so. 

® Another statement to demonstrate that the Rdmdyana was well known 
in South India at this time. 

This refers to the legend that when Visnu was engaged in yoganidrd 
Brahma the Creator came out of his navel. Hence Brahma was the son of 
Visrju and was the giver of the Vedas. 



XIV. 50] 

‘He (Nala) lost his king-dom in a gambling court^ and 5 °“^* 
penetrated the deep forest in company with his tender 
wife.^ Neither was he devoid of love for her, nor was she 
a woman of bad and low nature. Was not Fate hard that 
he went away in the dead of night leaving her in the wild 
jungle Can you say that any accused her (Damayanti) 
of any fault.? You are not like them, for have you not 
enjoyed union with your pretty wife? Do not grieve ; 
but go to the king’s city, Madura, and retxirn when you 
have found a suitable (dwelling) place.’ 

Kovalan then went through a street above a narrow 62—70 
passage (surangay constructed to admit groups of ele- 
phants with their long trunks, leading from the moat with 
its vast expanse of sparkling waters, encircled by a well- 
guarded defence forest.® Unsuspected by the ranks of the 
best Yavana swordsmen® who guarded it, he next entered 
the forest-gate, where flags waved in the westerly breeze, 
and saw the interior (of the city) glittering like the 
opened jewel-box of thousand-eyed Indr a. 

In the streets^ he saw courtesans, lost to all shame and 7°—75 
chastity, accompanying their rich lovers to the pleasure 
garden with its tall maruda trees® on the banks of the 


^ ValJaddyam (Sans., dyiitam). 

^ The reference is to the story of Nala and Damayanti, which is the 
theme of the Naisadha Kdvya. 

® Nala left Damayanti in the forest in a half-naked condition in the 
dead of night (Mhh., ‘Vana Farvan ch- 62)- This also shows that the 
story of the Mahdhhdrata was popular in the Tamil land (see ‘ Nalopakhyana- 
parvan ’ for the full story). 

It may be remembered that this word iuranga is important as deter- 
mining the authenticity of the Arthasdstra. See The Maury an Polity^ pp. 16-17. 

^ Ilai is the defensive wall of a fortress and milai is the forest zone 
encircling the moat surrounding a citadel. 

Adiyarkkunallar speaks of them as Turks. It may possibly be a reference 
to Greeks. But to the natives of ancient India all foreigners were Yavanas. 
They were employed by Tamil kings for military service. 

^ A description of the interior of the city. The rest of the canto shows 
Kovalan going through the principal streets. 

® It would appear that there was a special place which went by the name 
of tirumarudanturai. The Kahttogai also makes a reference to it. These 
references show that that place was a public park. See Maduraikkanji^ 1 . 356. 


The Silappadikaram [XIV. 76 

swelling Vaigai, and on white sand dunes. He also saw 
them engaged in water-sports, in boats with high cabins 
and in canoes, swimming and holding on to the rafts. 

82 He saw, besides, in a grove of the ancient city which 
appeared like a golden creeper, courtesans gracefully 
placing cool fragrant mullais, water-lilies, and neydals with 
open petals in their hair which was already dressed with 
long wreaths of white flowers, jasmine, viriyal, and the 
pollen of the cool red lily, and fastened with pearls from 
the great harbour of Korkai.^ (They were further seen) 
anointing their bodies with luxurious sandal-paste from the 
southern Malaya hills. 

96 At nightfall he saw maidens on their flower-strewn 
beds in the moonlit terraces where their lovers banished 
their fatigue (by recalling their experiences in the differ- 
ent seasons of the year).''’ (During the rainy season, they 
said,) when the king of the clouds appeared with the 
north wind, decorated the noisy city of Madura in red 
(cevvani)* and .showed to her (Madura) the king of Gods 
(Indra) who had clipped the wings of mountains with his 

^ Boat*; and raft‘d of different descriptions were used to cross the rivers. 
The names given are nlrmddam, ndvdiy and funai. Some of them were 
covered and some open. The punai was an open raft. People either swam 
holding on to it or they sat on it and crossed. 

® Korkai was one of the great ports of that time. It was noted for 
excellent pearl-fisheries. See Maduraikkdn]i^ 11. 134 and 144. Probably 
Ptolemy’s Kolkhoi was Korkai (McCrindle, op. cit., p. 57 ff,). The site of this 
town is now about five miles inland, where a new emporium arose. This was 
the Ka}^! of Marco Polo who visited it in the thirteenth century. (See Travels 
of Marco Polo, ed. by Sir Henry Yule, Vol. II., pp. 372-3.) There is a clear 
reference to the pearls and to the port in the Kaufallya Arihaidstra. 

® The poet describes the life led by men and 'women in the city during 
the six different seasons of the year — the rainy season, the cold season, the 
season of early dew, the season of late dew, spring and summer. These are 
known in Sanskrit as Varsartu, Sisirtu, Hemantartu, Saratrtu, Vasantam, and 
Grismam. When Kovalan entered the city it was the middle of summer. 

^ Cevvani is a term of much importance in Ahapporul. If during his 
wife’s menstrual period the hero spent his time with a courtesan, the custom 
was for the confidante to appear before him dressed entirely in red. The hero 
then returned home. Perhaps Ilango took Madura to be the confidante, Indra 
to be the hero, and the women of Madura to be the heroines. 


XIV. 97] 


thunderbolt/ they (the ladies of the city) wore in their 
w,aists scarlet silk with flower -work thereon, adorned their 
tresses (already dressed with flower-buds) with wild olive, 
adorning them further with the fragrant and fresh-blown 
kurinji and red tali flowers which grew on the slopes of 
the ^irumalai hills. (They then) painted their breasts 
with red sandal-paste, and further beautified them with 
garlands of coral, and garlands of the curved petals of 
red sengodu flowers. 

During the cold season modest damsels and their 97-101 
lovers, who had painted their chests with fragrant pastes, 
seated themselves in front of the censer charged with the 
wood of incense trees, and closed the lattice windows® (of 
their apartments) in mansions seeming to reach the sky, 
built by expert architects.® 

During the season of early dew, ladies sat with their 102-105 
lovers on the moonlit terraces of their big houses, to receive 
the warmth of the rising sun, who appeared with his expand- 
ing rays on the southern horizon dispelling the white clouds. 

(The lovers continued to talk, asking) where is the 106-112 
king (the season) of late dew in the month Panguni, who 
would witness the festival of the Bow sacred to hard- 
hearted Cupid (Neduvel)^ in the Pandyan city and enter 

^ This legend is well known in Sanskrit literature. Tradition has it that 
mountains once had wings and consequently flew from one place to another. 
Then Indra had their wings clipped. Some of them in fear hid themselves in 
the deep waters of the ocean. See the Ramdyana, ‘ Sundara ch. 1. 

® These were windows peculiar to those days. See Studies in Tamil 

Literature and History, pp. 263-4. It is of absorbing interest to note similar 
institutions in the Indus Valley during the chalcolithic period. In the Annual 
Report, igsS-g of the Archaeological Survey of India, the remark is made that 
no windows have been discovered in the Mohenjo-daro buildings excavated. 
^In all probability there were only simple ventilation holes just beneath the 
ceilings of the rooms.’ — Report, p. 69. 

^ Arumpadavuraiyasiriyar refers to a treatise on architecture entitled 

* Vilvila is the festival in honour of the God of Love. Neduve], literally, 

means ‘The Great Vel’ or one who kindles eternal desire. The festival is 

generally held in the month of Panguni in the season of late dew. In the 
Tamil land the festival is still .celebrated in that month, See Kuruntogai, 

St 31, 

204 The Silappadikaram [XIV. 113 

with the east wind and with a fleet of high, broad ships, 
carrying different kinds of incense, silks, sandals, scents, 
and camphor brought ,as tribute, from Tondi.?^ 

113-117 Moreover, where else can we see the king of spring, 
who unites joyful lovers in the Pandyan city, bringing with 
him the south wind from the Podiyil hills of Tennavan, 
giving madavi creepers luxuriant growth and filling groves 
and jungles with fragrant flowers ? 

118-119 jn this way creeper-like ladies rested with their hus- 
bands recalling the different seasons. 

T 20-145 (Continuing, they said) on the last day when the king 
of spring reigning over Madura considered removing to 
other places, the continuously hot sun and the westerly 
breeze, entered (the city) and scorched the entire jungle 
and hilly tracts, making herds of elephants and their young 
ones tremble ; wealthy maidens (wearing golden bangles) 
completely loyal to the king, embraced him anew and 
received from him as presents covered carts, palanquins, 
sleeping-couches with jewelled legs, physical happiness in 
the pleasure-gardens,® hauri fans of yaks’ tails, golden 
betel-boxes, and sharp swords. These maidens drank 
sweet wine from pure golden goblets held by their maid- 
servants and became inebriated. When trying to drive 
away with their fragrant flower-garlands striped bees® (that 
had settled on them), they hit places where the bees were 

' This Tondi must have been a great port, belonging to the Cola, or 
more probably the Pandyan kingdom. This must not be confused with Tondi, 
another port in the dominion of the Ceras. See Pur am*, st. 17 and 48. The 
tribute offered by the chief of Tondi in ships was ahi\ silks, garlands, scents, 

and camphor. Most of these came from the Archipelago islands in the 

east. For detailed comments on these articles see the gloss of Adiyark- 
kunallar. The Silappadikaram says that ships entered with koi^idal or the 

east wind. If it is a reference to Cera Tondi, koii 4 al would not have been 

mentioned. Perhaps this Tondi can be identified with a place of the same name 
in the present Ramnad district. 

® Tam., uyydnam ; Sans., udydna. This refers to the king’s concubines 
to whom he occasionally made presents, such as those mentioned. 

® The women drank so much that their eyes became reddened and deceived 
the bees into thinking that they were not eyes but honey-laden flowers. 


XIV. 146] 


not. In smiling they showed their pearl-like teeth through 
their’ red lips and sang words of praise which they had not 
sung during their separation {pulavi ) ; but when they began 
the eight modes of singing/ their tongues failed and pro- 
voked only laughter in their hearers. The extremities of 
their long carplike eyes, red like the opened buds of a 
bright sengalunlr flower, bespoke their anger, while pers- 
piration gathered on their tiny foreheads, bearing the 
tilaka, and their murderous bow-like eye-brows curved 
downwards, all of which was longingly observed by men 
of noble families. In this way these women afforded amuse- 
ment to the ruler of the earth. 

(After passing this street) Kovalan went through the 146-167 
highway with its double row oP beautiful mansions which 
crowned kings frequented secretly. These were the 
residences of courtesans who had never been punished with 
the carrying of burnt tiles, ^ and of dancers who knew the 
technique of the two musical conventions, vettiyal and 
poduviyal,'^ and had perfect knowledge of the four® 
characteristics (of dancing),® songs, time-beats, the music 
of bagpipes accompanied by musical instruments made of 
leatlier used in the dancing theatre. They also .knew of 
the much renowned talaikkdl and of the sweet and seven- 

^ Kattiirai constitutes eight kinds of song if the reading is 
But the reading rnay be conveniently substituted. It would then 

mean that they tried to speak but their words stuck in their throats. 

® The double rows are probably iirudanam (residences of the middle 
classes) and perudanam (residences of the wealthy classes). 

® This may mean that they were living in lofty houses built of burnt 
bricks and tiles. Another meaning (adopted here) is that the courtesans were 
free from the punishment of bearing tiles. The custom was to inflict this 
punishment on anybody who swerved from the prescribed conventions. The 
damsel had to walk round the city in procession bearing seven tiles on her 
head. To this disgrace the courtesans of Madura were not subjected. 

* Both these are known as V asaikkiiitu. See Maiii., canto ii, 1. i8. 
While vettiyal was intended for royalty, poduviyal was a popular performance 
(see Arumpadavurai). 

® The pan was fourfold, palai, kurinji, maritdam and Uvuali. 

® Fan is of seven kinds. It may also refer to the seven strings beginning 
with kurah 

2o6 The Silappadikaram [XIV. i68 

fold strains, and were accompanied by the toriyamadandai^ 
who sang the vdmm, by the girl who sang the opening 
song and by the girl who sang the middle song and who 
acted in four different entertaining ways, and (when sing- 
ing) reached the eighth (note) for which she was rewarded 
every day with gifts ranging from one to 1008 kalanjus of 

Caught in the eye-nets of these goddess-like damsels 
{ananku),^ even religious men, take leave of their disciplin- 
ed senses, while young people dallying carnally with girls 
like bees sucking honey from flower after flower, and new 
initiates to the revelries of Cupid, will not leave those 
mansions, without listening to the girls’ songs, and to the 
parrot-like talk of the women skilled in the sixty-four afts.® 
168-179 Kovalan then saw in the bazaar,^ covered carts and 
other vehicles,® ornamented chariots, coats of mail, attrac- 
tive goads, gloves used in warfare, efficacious medicines, 
curved bludgeons, white furry fans, pig-faced shields, 
leather shields, shields with a picture of the forest on them, 
machines fitted with spears,® workers in copper, bronze- 
workers, newly-made ropes, garland-makers, saws made of 
steel, instruments for ivory cutting, burning incense 
(pukai)J pastes, and flower-work, which were so rich and 
innumerable that they even evoked the envy of monarchs. 

^ The toriyamadandai was an aged dancing girl who sung the vdram to 
the accompaniment of a dance by a young girl. She was assisted by two 
more girls, the talaippdttiikkutti initiating the song, and the idatppdUukkutfi 
helping in the middle by singing. 

^ Ananku corresponds here to the Mohinl of Sanskrit Literature. 

® The sixty-four arts are elaborately given in the Kdmasutra of 

* What we call ha^angu streets in modern Indian cities. These are shops 
of wholesale dealers. Four such are mentioned. 

® It may be noted that these vehicles were all drawn by bullocks. 

® A number of instruments of war are mentioned here as being sold in 
open bazaars. The instruments for ivory cutting, flower-work, the decorative 
arts, etc., show the high state of culture reached in the early centuries of the 
Christian era. 

^ Pukai stands for all the varieties of burning incense used at that 
ancient time. 


XIV. i^o] 


■ KSvalan next passed through the wealthy street un- 180-200 
penetrated by enemies, full of groups of dealers in superior 
diamonds^ which were free from such defects as crows’ 
feet, spots, holes and lines, which had no natural defici- 
encies observable by experts of trained acuteness, and 
which reflected the colours of the four castes.’^ Emeralds 
of green brilliance free from black spots and defects of 
line and curve ; the mdnikkam variety known as padumam, 
nllam, bindu, and spatikam, all of which were free from 
recognized defects ; the puspardga set with gold resembling 
a cat’s eye ; the beautiful sardonyx (gomedaga) with the 
faultless brilliance of the sun ; the blue gem with crystal- 
lized darkness ; the double-coloured vaidurya f the good 
gems of five different kinds born from a common source* 
and glimmering like the setting sun, as well as heaps of 
white pearls (candrdguru), pink-lustred pearls (angdrakay 
and pearls of the finest quality (dnimuUv)^ all of which 
sparkled without any blemish caused by wind or sand, 
stone or water. There were also well-formed corals com- 
pletely free from flaws in their inner cavities, without 
stones in their interspaces, and untwisted.’’ 

The excellent streets of the goldsmiths were next seen 201-204 
with flags® enabling the gold-rdealers to avoid confusion as 

^ Experts in the art of cutting gems. The nine kinds of precious stones 
are mentioned. Adiyarkkunallar furnishes interesting details as regards their 
superiority and fineness as well as of the defects of each one of them. The 
commentator’s study is scientific and deserves close scrutiny. 

^ The colours of four castes, white, red, green and black are distinguished 
in the diamonds. 

3 The interpretation of Arumpadavumi is followed in 11 . 189-90. What 
this Isiriyar interprets as gomedaga, Adiyarkkunallar interprets as Vaiduryay 
and vice versa. 

^ The common source of some of the gems was crystal quartz. 

^ It is interesting to note that some of the pearls are named after the 
planets, soma^ guru, and angdraka. 

® Adiyarkkunallar interprets 11 . 195-6 as follows : ‘Pearls of the round 
sort, their natural colour white {velU) and pink (angdraka) A 

^ The defects and merits of corals are furnished here. One defect is that 
during the course of it.s growth, stones entered into the interspaces. Such 
corals were considered inferior. 

® Four kinds of gold were offered for sale and in front of each shop 
hung a flag — the signpost indicative of the kind of gold available within. 

2o8 The Silappadikaram [XIV. 205 

to the kind of gold available in each shop variously called 
jdtarupa, kiliccirai (parrot’s wings), adakam and jdmhU- 

205—218 He then went through the street of cloth merchants, 
where several kinds of bundles were piled up, each 
of a hundred cloths woven of cotton thread, hair, or 
silk thread the street of corn-chandlers where merchants 
were seen going about here and there with balances, 
measuring-vessels known as parai, and grain-measures 
(ambanam)^^ filled with sacks^ of grain and black pepper 
irrespective of the seasons ; the four different streets 
occupied by the men of the four castes f the intersection 
of three streets the termini of four streets the streets 
of petty shops ; manrams ; lanes and broad streets ; and 
finally went beyond the ramparts (of the city) through the 
shade of an arbour of clustering green leaves, impervious 
to the fierce rays of the sun blazing in the sky. Seeing 
thus the great city of the protecting (Pandyan) king, 
Kovalan was highly pleased. 

^ Clothes were made from cotton, rat’s hair, silk thread, see Jivakaciit- 
tamani^ st. 3686. 

® For amba^iavalavaty see Padirru.^ p- 66, 2nd. ed. It was a grain- 
measure equal to the modern marakkdh Parai was another measuring-vessel 
in use- 

® The word grain, according to the commentator, stands for sixteen kinds 
of grains grouped in bags in the streets- One of them was pepper. 

* There were caste streets as distinguished from other streets of the city, 
where lived artisans and other classes pursuing different arts and crafts. 

® The term used generally is candiy sometimes, muccatidi, 

® The satukham was also known as na^candi. 

^ According to the commentator, the shade of the numerous flags and 
festoons offered shelter to the passer-by. But this does not seem quite appro- 
priate, since Kovalan went outside the rampart from the interior of the city. 

Canto XV 




Having seen the ancient and great city of Madura dis- i— 8 
tinguished for the highly righteous sceptre, the coolness 
of the (royal) umbrella, and the prowess of the spear of 
the Kauriyar^ who dutifully turned the wheel of law under 
the merciful guidance of a bountiful providence,^ and never 
deserted by its law-abiding citizens,* Kovalan went outside 
the gates of the fortress, into the grove wherein dwelt 
monks engaged in imparting dharma. 

And while he was narrating to the sage Kavundi the 9—20 
undiminishing prosperity of Madura and the prowess of 
the Pandyan king, Madalan of Talaiccenganam,^ the first 
amongst Brahmanas, well versed in the four Vedas, 

^ Among the titles given to the Faniya, one is Kauriyar. The two terms 
Pandyan and Kauriyar which occur in Sangam literature strongly suggest 

that they are derived from Pandu and Kuru. We laiow of the Pan(^avas and 
Kauravas as foster-brothers fighting the great war recounted in the Mahdbhamta, 
at ancient Kuruksetra. Both belonged to one and the same stock. Apparently 
a branch of this stock was established in the extreme south of India and 
became prominent among South Indian dynasties. But there is evidence 
suggesting an indigenous origin to this dynasty as the present writer has 
ventured to conjecture in a footnote in his Studies in Tamil Literature and 
History, p. 179- The subject requires further examination and scrutiny. 

^ It means there was no hunger, disease, theft or trouble from neigh- 
bours (see canto v, st. 72). 

^ The idea is that the king was such a just monarch that the people of 

the city never thought of leaving it for a foreign land. It may be noted 

in passing that it was a custom in ancient India for the people to forsake 
their kings if they conducted themselves unrighteously, by deserting their 
capital for that of other and more just kings. See the Kautaltya Arthaidstraf 
Bk. XIII, § I. This seems to have been an effective weapon on the part of the 
subjects to make the king conduct himself justly and truly towards them. 

^ Talaiccenganam is Talaiccengadu, a village of the ancient Cofa king- 
dom, perhaps identical with the village now bearing that name about six 
miles south-west of Kaverippattinam. It Is a sacred place mentioned in the 



The Silappadikaram [XV. 21 

appeared at their residence in the grove surrounded by a 
shallow moat. He had come there to obtain relief from 
the fatigue of his journey while returning to his own 
family, after circumambulating the hilP sacred to the 
great sage, and bathing in the bathing ghat of the 

To him Kovalan prostrated himself, while the Brah- 
mana skilled in speech,^ on being addressed, replied as 
follows : 

“39 ‘When Madavi, tender as the young mango-leaf, after 
winning the king’s gift® for dancing, gave birth to a tender 
babe and passed through the period of pollution,^ you 
responded to the sweet words appropriate to the occasion 
of the older dancers who desired that the daughter should 
be given a fitting name, by saying. “An ancestor of mine® 
was once shipwrecked in the dead of night in the great sea 
of mighty waves ; but because he had performed several 
good deeds, he kept himself afloat by swimming for some 
days.® Then appeared before him the deity of the sea^ 

^ Podiyil, sacred to the sage Agastya. For the Agastya tradition in the 

South and Greater India, the reader’s attention is drawn to Dikshitar’s Some 
Aspects of the Vdyu Purdna (Madras University, 1933), in the section entitled 
‘Agastya and Greater India’. See also K. A. Nilakanta Sastri’s ‘Agastya’, in 
Tijdschrijt Van Ind,, Vol LXXVI, No. 4. 

® This special attribute given by the poet to Madalan shows that the 

latter was famous for his oratorical powers. 

® The Cola king under reference who had given Madavi a special gift 

for dancing is identified by the commentator Adiyarkkunallar as Karikala. 
But the latest researches point to a somewhat different conclusion. (See P. 

T. S. Iyengar’s History of the Tamils, pp. 372 ff. ; K. A. Nilakanta Sastri’s 
Studies in Cola History and Administration, pp. 19 ff. ; M. Raghava Aiyangar’s 
Ceran Senguttuvan, 3rd ed., pp. loi ff. ; and K. N. Sivaraja Pillai’s The 
Chronology of the Early Tamils, pp. 88 ff.) 

^ Evidently the observance of rules regarding pollution during the period 
of confinement was an ancient Tamil practice. 

^ Cf. Mai}i., canto vii, 11. 33-8 ; canto xxix, 1. 19. See Dikshitar’s paper 
‘Buddhism in Tamil Literature’ in Buddhist Studies (Calcutta), edited by B. 
C. Law, p. 679, for a fuller version of the story. 

® ‘Some days’ may be taken to be ‘seven days’ in the light of the text in 
the Manimehalai, canto xxix, 1. 16. 

^ This story has a parallel in the Buddhist Jataka stories. See E, B. 
Cowell, JdLahas, Vol. IV, pp- 9-13 ; Vol. VI, Nos. 442 and 539, p. 22. 



XV. 40] 

saying, ‘ I live here under orders from Indra. I have 
come before you. Be not afraid ; my name is Manimeka- 
lai.^ The fruits of your great charity are not lost. Sur- 
mount the great ocean of your suffering’ ; and thus she 
saved him from his distress by bringing him back to the 
shore. As she is my family deity, let her name be given 
to this baby.” Then a thousand courtesans with jewelled 
girdles blessed the child with the name Manimekalai.® 

‘On that day when you sat with that happy lady 40-53 
Madavi, and showered gifts of gold with your beautiful 
hands, a Brahmana, with bent body, having attained the 
very limits of knowledge and good conduct, “ came feebly 
along with the aid of a stick in order to receive gifts. 

Seeing him in the clutches of a fast and furious elephant 
which had thrown its mahout and was rushing in all direc- 
tions to the loud noise of the drum,‘‘ O merciful hero, you 
stepped forth instantly with a cry, and after rescuing that 
man of high birth, you released yourself from its curved 
hollow trunk and remaining between the white tusks, stood 
on its nape like a Vidyadhara on a dark hill, and curbed 
the still furious beast. 

‘On another occasion, a Brahmana left for the north S 4”75 
abandoning his wife who had caused the death of a young 
mungoose.® When she followed him, the Brahmana said : 

“It is not proper for me to eat food served by your hands. 

^ Manimekalai, the guardian deity of the sea, was the family deity of 

® The ceremony of naming a child, still current in India as ndmakam\ianty 
was one of the many samskdras specially incumbent on the twice-born classes. 
We know from literature that Kovalan was a Vaii^ya and hence belonged to 
the class of the twice-born. 

® The m'ta according to Sanskrit didactic literature. 

* It seems to have been a peculiar ancient custom in Tamil India that 
when an elephant became must and went rampaging through the streets, a 
drum was sounded so as to be heard throughout the city warning citizens 
of the mad elephant’s movements. This kept people within doors lest they 
should fall victims to the beast. 

® For this folk-tale see the Pancatantra. See also Dikshitar’s paper on 
‘Folklore and the Migration of Legends’ in the Annals of the Bhandarkat 
Research Institute^ ^9345 PP* 212-19. 


The Silappadikaram [XV. 76 

You give this note containing a Sanskrit verse^ to people 
leading a virtuous life.” With this the Brahmana lady 
went through the bazaars where the tall mansions of the 
wealthy merchants were, and showed the note from house 
to house proclaiming, “O, will no one relieve me of my 
sins and enjoy the fruits of so doing.?” At once you 
called to her and asked “What is your trouble and what 
is this (note)?” The lady narrated to you the great dis- 
trees she was in, and said, ” Take this leaf on which has 
been written the verse, and by giving me money absolve 
me from my great sin.” You replied to her, “Do not 
fret, do not be afraid. I shall relieve you of yoxor diffi- 
culty” ; and in order that her sinful deed might be atoned 
for, you made gifts in accordance with the instituted 
rules, ^ and relieved that lady of her worry. O wealthy 
man of imperishable riches ! Then you made her hus- 
band, who had left for the forest, (come back and) live 
with her in the right path (of household life) by giving 
them copious wealth out of your limitless riches. 

76-90 ‘On still another occasion, a chaste lady was falsely 
accused. A man who went to her husband and gave 
false evidence was seized by the cruel noose of a 

^ The Moka quoted by Adiyarkkunallar is from the Pancatantra^ Bk. V, 
Tale I, an 4 is as follows : 

Aparlksya na kartavyam kartavyam supanksitam | 

Paicdt hhavati santdpo brdhmam nakulam yathd j| 

The context shows that the story occurred in Puhar during the life- 
time of Kovalan. But as it finds mention in an earlier text like Tantrdkhyd- 
yiktty an earlier recension of the Pahcatantra, this raises a great chronological 
difficulty. One way out of this tangle is to consider it a later inter- 
polation. Whether or not the story be true, it bears testimony to the fact 
that Kovalan possessed a sound knowledge of Sanskrit. Apparently the note 
was a cadjan leaf on which had been written the verse by the Brahmana. 

® Belief in expiatory rites shows that the influence of the Dharmasutras 
and Dharmaidstras had gained ground in the Tamil land. This indicates the 
charitable nature of Kovalan, and also that Kovalan ’s wealth was limitless. 
In this connexion the term uruporul is interesting. According to the Kuial- 
venbd 756, it is the unclaimed property that went to fill the coffers of the 
king. But Kovalan could not have unclaimed property. Hence it is correct 
tp accept Jolkappiyanar’s interpretation of ‘much’ or ‘copious’. 

XV. 91 ] Adaikkalakkadai 213 

Butam, who devoured such offenders.^ Seeing the deep 
sorrow of the mother of that erring man, you at once 
entered the knots of that noose and said to the gracious 
and good Butam, “Take away my life and yield him his”. 

Without agreeing, it said, “There is no prescription 
to accept a good life in the place of a bad life, lest I should 
lose thereby the enjoyment of the next world. Please 
give up the idea.” When the Butam had devoured him 
in your presence, O best among householders, you 
accompanied that lady, grief-stricken at heart, and like a 
close relative, prevented for several years the exhaustion 
of hunger which would have overtaken his family^ and all 
its cognate branches. 

T know all the good things you have done in this 91-94 
birth,® but owing to your deeds in the past birth, O G6pala‘‘ 
of ripe knowledge, you have fallen into indescribable 
suffering along with your gem-like young wife who is like 
LaksmI herself.’ 

To this Kovalan replied, ‘Half awake in the middle of 95 “*®^ 
the dark night I dreamt thus “Through a low person in 
this city, well defended by the righteous monarch, this 

^ This points to the prevalent practice of punishing false witnesses with 
death. Cf. Kuruntogai, st. 184. It is interesting to note that the Kautaliya 
Arthasdstra rules to that effect. But the method of meting out this punishment 
is rather strange. There was the Butam whose function it was to punish 
with death all who committed heinous offences. It would not accept a good 
life for a bad one. In fact the Butam had no power to do so. See also 
canto V, II. 128 and 134. 

^ Ddyddins of Sanskrit literature. This also demonstrates the existence 
of the joint-family system in the Tamil land, and how there was a vast family 
of dependents on a single earning member, and how after his death, wealthy 
neighbours volunteered to give succour. 

® Cf. Kuralvenhdy 169, and the commentary of Parimelalagar. 

^ Gopala seems to be the Sanskrit variant to the Tamil name Kovalan. 

® Dr Swaminatha Aiyar refers to the treatise entitled Kandnuly dis- 
covered and published for the first time in Sentamtl, Vol. I, Pt. Ill, and sub- 
sequently published as a booklet by Vidvan R. Raghava Aiyangar. A parallel 
may be drawn from the Rdmdyana, ‘Ayddhya’, ch. 59, where Bharata 
dreams a fearful dream during the night of Da^aratha’s death, the latter riding 
in a southerly direction, in a chariot yoked 'with asses. Cf. Kandnuly st. 2, 4, 10 
and 15 ; Pur am, y st. 41 ; Kuralvenhdy 2^7’. 

214 The Silappadikaram [XV. 107 

girl with the five plaits of fragrant hair suffered great 
agony ; stripped of my robes by some stranger I mounted 
a horned buffalo. Later in the company of this handsome 
lady of the charmingly curled hair, I attained the great 
status of those who have renounced attachment. I also 
saw Madavi yielding her daughter Manimekalai to a 
Buddhist saint of great glory,® thereby making the god 
of love fling his flower dart on the barren ground and sob 

'I anticipate some imminent trouble.’ 

1 07-1 14 Then the Vedic Brahmana and the saint Kavundi 

together observed ; ‘As this place outside the city® is not 
fit to be lived in except by righteous monks, leave here for 
the interior of the vast city, to the residences of Vaisyas^ 
who will receive you because of your past reputation. 
Leave this place before sunset and enter the city of Madura 
with its tall mansions.’ 

1 1 5-124 jiQst then, Madari, an old woman of the cowherd 

caste, who was returning after making the usual offering of 
milk to the flower-eyed yakkini,® enshrined outside the 
city gates in the quarters of monks practising dharma, 
saw and prostrated herself before the saint Kavundi who 
then thought within herself : ‘The life of cowherds who 

He obtained salvation which was generally secured only by men of 

detachment from mundane things. This means that the bondage of birth and 
death ceased to exist for him. 

® See Mani., canto ii, 11. 73-4, etc, 

® Puraccifai are the quarters outside the gates of the city, being the 
residences of those who dedicate themselves to a life of holiness and detachment 
and consequently householders are unfit to live in them. 

^ Vai^yas are said to be next in rank to the Ksatriyas. 

® Yaksi-devata. Dr Swaminatha Aiyar in a note informs us that in the 

Jaina books, every one of the twenty-four Ttrthankaras was served by a Yakka 

and Yakkini. This name is current as l^akki in places round about Cape 

Comorin. Adiyarkkunallar interprets it as driyanganai, and on the authority 
of the Timmlaiyddcd Purdnam^ st. 63, 1- 17, driydnganai is one who takes to 
asceticism during the life-time of her husband. Her shrine was situated out- 
side the city proper (‘puraccimt). But we know from history and legends as 
testified to by the Rdmdyana and Mahdvamia that the Yaksas were one of 
the early ruling tribes in ancient South India and Ceylon, and died out some 
time before the commencement of the Christian era. 

XV. 125] Adaikkalakkadai 215 

protect cows and offer what they yield is not harmful. 

This aged lady is without fault and is, besides, virtuous 
and merciful. It is not therefore wrong to lodge Kannaki 
with Madari.’ 

She then addressed Madari thus : ‘Listen ! If mer- 125—148 
chants of this city hear the name of this lady’s father-in- 
law,^ they will welcome him (her husband) as a guest, 
as if they had received a rare fortune, and take him and 
this lady of the beaming-eyes to their well-guarded home® 
along with them. Till she goes to the houses of those 
very rich people, accept her, O cowherdess, as a refugee. 

Give this auspicious girl an excellent bath, decorate her 
long red eyes with black collyrium, adorn her soft tresses 
with choice flowers, deck her in pure clothes and as be- 
comes worthy people, remain as her maid, protectress and 
mother. Accept her. Mother Earth had no compassion^ 
on the tender tread of this creeper-like girl, who came 
with me. Oblivious of her own suffering this celebrated 
lady, although fainting from thirst in the scorching sun, 
felt more keenly the suffering of her husband. We 
(Kavundi) have not seen any shining deity other than this 
goddess who has taken the vow of chastity necessary to 
devoted housewives. Do you not know the truth of the 
good saying that in a land where chaste women live, rains 
will not fail,® prosperity will not decrease, and the great 
monarch’s victory will not diminish? 

‘Listen again. Though what is given for safe- 149-160 
keeping by men of penance be small,® it is bound to 

^ This testifies to the simple and god-fearing life led by members of 
the community of cowherds. 

^ This shows that Masattuvan’s name was well known to the merchants 
of Madura. It would appear that he was a princely merchant. 

^ This points to the fact that the houses of wealthy merchants were under 
watch and ward, and this is not surprising considering the stories of expert 
thieves given in the classic itself. 

* In simple language it means that she was footsore. And yet in spite 
of this she felt for her husband’s distress and not her own. 

* Cf. Kuralvenbd, 55. 

®For a definition of penance, see Jlvakacmtdmaniy st. 1547. 

2 i 6 The Silappadikaram [XV. i6i 

yield many fruitful results. Before the Caranar preach- 
ing dharma from the shining slab of stone, erected by 
Savakas,^ beneath the unchanging shade of the flowery 
asoka, in the town adjoining the Kaveri^ region, stood a 
Deva of great power, with beauteous form, resplendent 
like Indra’s bow, adorned with garlands of flowers and 
gems, wearing gold ornaments, fit to be worshipped by 
the many invisible gods, but with one of his hands resem- 
bling that of a monkey with black fingers. 

161-162 ‘All the Savakas worshipped the Caranar and wanted 
to know the reason for the appearance of this Deva, when 
the god spoke as follows : 

163-173 “Once there was a merchant called Etti-^ayalan.® In 
his house many would gather who observed fasting. One 
day the chief lady of the house reverentially received the 
foremost among the monks. At the same time a small 
monkey from the village silently entered the house and 
worshipped the feet of the great divine. Impelled by 
hunger, it ate the leavings of the food and water consumed 
by the ascetic, and gazed on him. The wise person of 
steadfast mind became glad at heart and addressed the 
lady of the house, saying, ‘Regard this monkey as one of 
your own sons.’ 

174-191 “The lady agreed to the wise words of the saint. 

When the loving monkey died, the lady gave away the 
property set apart^ for it, to the assembled Caranar and 
prayed that it might be absolved from all its sins.® Hence, 
it was born as the only son of Uttaragautta® at Varanasi 

^ The Savakas were Jaina householders who heard with reverence 
occasional preachings of dharma from the Caranar, a class of divinities 
accepted by Hindu tradition. 

^ KavirippiimpakkatUippattinam : cf. Mani.^ canto xxv. 1. 16. 

^ A title given to merchant-princes by the king. Cf. Mani.^ canto iv, 1. 58; 
Perumkadai^ Bk. I, ch. 40, L 116. 

^ In accordance with the advice given by the monk to regard it as one 
of her sons, the lady treated it as such, set apart a portion of the family 
property to the monkey, and on its death, distributed that wealth in charity. 

® The idea is that it may not be born hereafter as an animal. 

® Uttaragautta was the ruling king of Benares, 

XV. 192] Adaikkalakkadai 217 

in the middle country/ This son who was celebrated for 
his beauty, wealth and great wisdom, and noted for his 
great gifts died in his thirty-second year. Later he attain- 
ed the form of a Devakumara and has come here with the 
monkey’s hand on one of his arms, as if to announce to 
all the .^avakas, “Please note that all my wealth and 
enjoyments were the outcome of the gifts of her who 
protected me with grace. Though in my previous birth a 
monkey, this change of form is due to the gifts of ;$a.yalan’s 

‘The pious men of that city who heard these good and 192-199 
wise words of the Caranar and regarded them as God’s very 
words, men of penance in that region, the ^avakas leading 
the life of virtuous householders, the Etti and his wife who 
gave away gifts (ddna ) — all of them went to the last 
world of unending bliss. 

‘Now that you have heard this account, accompany this 
lady (Kannaki) with the flower-decked hair, without 
wasting any more time.’ 

When Kavundi said this, Madari became glad at heart, 200-206 
She praised the saint and took leave of her at the time 
when the sun was setting. Beside wise Kannaki, with 
beautiful, tender breasts, with shoulders resembling the 
bent-bamboo, and with sprouting white teeth she passed 
along, hearing cows bellow aloud in search of their calves. 

They soon found themselves in the midst of cowherds 
bearing on their shoulders, lambs, axes and poles with uri,^ 
and cowher desses with shining bracelets. 

^ Benares in the Madhyadesa. The geographical limits of ancient 
Madhyadesa have hardly been settled satisfactorily. Madhyadesa is frequently 
mentioned in Vedic and epic literature as well as in Buddhist literature. 
Manu makes Prayag the eastern boundary of the region and by this he seems 
to e.xclude the region of Ka^i from the Madhyadesa. But KaSi is a part of 
it according to the authority of the Kdvyamtmdmsd. This agrees also with 
the statement in the Silafpadikdram, 

^ A brief description of cowherds and their womenfolk returning home 
after nightfall. 


218 The Silappadikaram [XV. 207 

The cowherdess Madari entered her house with her 
refugee, after passing through the gateway — with the daily 
flag flying thereon^— of the fortress walls encircled by a 
forest of defence and a moat, surmounted by a mechanical 
bow with self-projecting (arrows),^ a clutching machine® 
with its black claws, slings, shooting stones, boiling oils, 
cauldrons for smelting copper, furnaces for smelting iron, 
baskets of stones (for throwing), hooks, ^ chains,® traps 
shaped like dndalai birds,® iron arms,’' sharp poles,® bundles 
of arrows and of nails, fearful beams, needles to be 
thrust into the fingers (of enemies), the kingfisher machine 
which would pluck out the eyes (of the enemy), pig-shaped 
implements,® bamboo-like machines,^® heavy weighted 
bolts, wooden bars thrust across the entrance, clubs, 
missiles, lances, and many more such things/^ 

^ The flag celebrating daily victory. The interpretation is appropriate in 
the light of the Maduraikkanji, I. 368. 

® Lines 207-16 have been quoted by the celebrated commentator Parimela- 
lagar in commenting on the Kuralvenhd 743. Here is a detailed description of 
defences in the fortification. 

® The machine would clutch, like a monkey, those who touched it. 

* Hooks were to pull up people scaling fortress walls. 

* Chains were used for strangling. 

® Traps which would fly like the bird andalai and peck forcibly at the 
crown of the head. This bird is said to possess a manlike head. (See 
Kalinga., ‘Koil’, 1. 16.) 

^ Iron rods for throwing enemies into the moat if they attempted to cross 

® These were poles with pointed heads upon which the enemy was 
transfixed and pulled downwards so as to rend his body into two halves. 

® These were of iron whose spikes would tear out the bowels of an enemy. 

These were fastened with iron rods to beat enemies with. 

The mechanism by which these bolts would drop suddenly on the heads 
of persons who attempted to open the doorways. 

^ ^ This suggests that the abovementioned devices did not exhaust the 
defences of the fort. 

Canto XVI 




The cowherdess (Madari) who delightedly took the 
precious damsel (Kannaki) under her protection, left her 
to the other cowherdesses with excellent bangles, in a 
secure cottage,^ beautified with red mud, which had a cool 
courtyard in front, separated from the hedge-encircled 
residential quarters^ of the cowherds who sold buttermilk. 

After giving her a refreshing bath, Madari addressed 8—17 
her in words of praise thus ; ‘O you, who have come 
here with beauty unadorned, as if to destroy the made- 
up beauty^ of Madura ladies decorated with costly and 
glittering jewels of gold, take my daughter Aiyai, as your 
personal attendant. I shall keep watch over you, O gfirl 
with the fragrant locks of hair, as keenly as I would over 
gold.^ O lady, live here with me.’ She continued : ‘The 
lady of great penance (Kavundi) has cured^ you of the 
fatigue of your journey and brought you to a faultless 
place; have you any more anxiety for your husband?’® 

^ Apparently it was the guest-house of the cowherd community. The 
courtyard in front perhaps resembled those invariably found in front of the 
houses recently excavated in the Indus valley. 

^ A description of the residential quarters of the cowherds, their archi- 
tecture and outward appearance. The simple life of these people is portrayed. 
Cf. Pemmpdnd., 1 , 163; Kalitfogai^ st. 104; Aham.^ st. 394. 

® A contrast between the natural beauty of Kannaki and the made-up 
beauty of Madura women. 

* The importance and value of gold are emphasized elsewhere also (see 
Kcdra^ st. 99). 

® Spiritual cure is implied. 

® The word for husband in the text is mafeaw* ^ term 

in this sense. See Mani,, canto xxi, 1 . 29. 

220 The Silappadikaram [XVI. i8 

18-28 Turning to her maidens she said : ‘Since this lord 
(KSvalan) observes the vows o£ the ^avakas/ get ready 
without delay the good vessels needed by Kannaki to cook 
the daily meal with the aid of her husband’s sister.’^ At 
this the cowherdesses offered unused cooking-vessels as 
befitting wealthy people and some almost ripe, round 
jack-fruits that never flower, white-striped cucumbers, 
green pomegranates, mangoes, sweet plantains, rice of 
the first quality, and milk from their own cows/ saying : 
‘Lady of the round bracelets, please receive these.’ 

29-39 When Kannaki had cut the different green vegetables 
with a curved knife, her tender fingers became reddened, 
her face perspired, her superb eyes became bloodshot ; 
and she turned aside from the smoking oven. Then with 
the aid of the fire of straw lit by Aiyai, Kannaki cooked 
to the best of her ability for her husband. When that 
lord had seated himself on a small mat dexterously made 
from the white leaves of the palmyra tree by a trained 
maid,® with her flower-like hands she sprinkled water from 
an earthen-pot over the feet of her lord.® 

40-53 Then as if to remove the unconsciousness of Mother 

^ Adiyarkkunallar makes Kovalan a Jain and interprets the passage in 
the light of the Jaina custom of not eating after nightfall. It may be a 
reference to the daily meal. 

® The reference is to Aiyai whom Kannaki treats as though she were 
Kovalan ’s sister. 

® Kdlippdkal is still eaten in Madura. 

^ This list of the food of the Ayar community indicates their standard of 
living. The inference is that they were vegetarians. 

® These are some of the Vailya practices and conventions before 
taking food. Cf. Tolk.^ ‘Marap.’, siitra 85. The earth is cleaned by 

sprinkling it with water so that the surface may be even and will not injure 
the leaf on which the meal is served. The plantain-leaf, then, as today, 
served this purpose. It may be noted that the dsana or seat was made not 
of wood but of grass. 

® It was then a practice, as is still observed among certain communities, 
to wash the feet before going to meals. Here it is not clear whether 

Kannaki removed the water from Kovalan ’s feet consequent on his washing, 
or whether she poured water on his feet and then sprinkled it on her face 
as an act of purification. Relics of these practices still linger in this 


XVI. 54] Xolaikkalakkadai 

Earth, she sprinkled water on the ground and making it 
smooth with her palms, spread a tender plantain leaf and 
said : ‘Here is food, O Lord ! Please eat.’ When every- 
thing prescribed for those born in the Vaisya caste had 
been performed as well as possible,^ Aiyai and her mother 
looked at them with pleased eyes and said : ‘ Is this lord 
who eats good food Krsna^ with the colour of the newly- 
opened kdya flower, nursed by Asodai^ in the village of 
cowherds? Is this lady with many shoulder-bracelets the 
brightest lamp (Pinnai) of our community, who gave 
succour to the Lord of the blue gem, on the banks of the 
river Yamuna Our eyes are not (keen) enough to see 
this splendid sight.’ 

To great Kovalan who was sitting fully satisfied 54“7® 
after his meal, were offered tender betel leaves and nuts® 
by (Kannaki) of the black tresses. He said to her : 

‘Come’ and clasping her, continued ; ‘Doubting whether 
these tender feet of thine would have strength enough to 
walk over the tracts covered with gravel and stone, and 
taking pity on us for having crossed these painful deserts, 
how miserable will our aged parents® feel? Is this (our 

^ ‘As well as possible’ is used by the poet advisedly. It implies that 
Kovalan could not attend to all his daily religious duties as thoroughly and 
punctually in a foreign place as he could in his own home. 

® Kovalan and Kannaki are compared to Krs^a and Nappi^nai, the cow- 
herdess whom Krs^ia took in wedlock. Here is a hard fact proving the antiquity 
of the Knsna cult, well known in the early centuries of the Christian era. 

® Yasoda (Tamil, Asodai) is the wife of Nanda and foster-mother of Krsna, 
the family god of cowherds. (See Bhaga. Pur.y Bk. X, ch. 9, st., 14-20.) 

* The Yamuna is the river where Krsna sported with the cowherdesses. 
This is a reference to the aquatics {jaJaknda) indulged in by Krsna in the 
course of his rdsakrtda (ibid., ch. 30-34) : see also Visnu Purdna, Bk. V, 
ch. 13. 

® Note the reference to the use of betels and nuts after food. The reader 
may profitably compare this with 11 . 240-3 of canto xxviii of the Manimekalai^ 
where Manimekalai entertains A^avanadiga} to dinner. This proves 
that even Bhiksus took betels, a custom forbidden by Hindu law ; also 
that camphor took the place of chundm. Cf. Jdtakas, Vol. I, pp. 132 and 
152. See also Tolk.^ ‘Etai’, sutra 36, commentary by Ilampuranar. 

® The expression yemmudukuravar in this line means ‘ our parents ’ 
and consequently the reference is to the parents of both Kannaki and Kovalan. 


The Silappadikaram [XVI. 71 

present condition) illusion? Is it due to cruel fate?’' My 
mind is so confused that I know nothing. O is there hope 
for one who has wasted his days in the company of useless 
men and debauchees, among groups of scandal-mongers 
indulging in boisterous laughter, ever hankering after 
sinful deeds, neglecting the good words spoken by wise 
men? I have not been dutiful to my aged parents. I 
have also disgraced thee who art young in years, but old 
in wisdom. I never thought that I was doing wrong. 
Even though I asked thee not to leave our great city for 
this place, ^ thou earnest with me. What a thing thou 
didst ! 

71-83 Kannaki rejoined : ‘Though I could not give charity to 
observers of dharma,^ or honour Brahmanas, receive 
saints and ascetics, or entertain guests as befits our great 
family, I hid from your revered mother and your highly 
reputed and honourable father, much esteemed by the king, 
my sorrow at not having you before me ; but they knew 
it and were full of affection for me and spoke loving words. 
In spite of my pretended smile, my emaciated body made 
them know my inner anxiety at which they were highly 
grieved. Though you deviated from the right path, 
because I kept to the path of rectitude, I volunteered to 
come along with you.’ 

84-93 Kovalan said : ‘O thou who hast given up they parents 
and relations, menial servants, nurse-maids^ and female- 
attendants, and taken as thy great aids modesty, credulity. 

^ Cf. Kuralvenhd 1311, 

® The reference is to Puhar and Madura. 

® The duties of a true householder are given. Cf. Kural^ ch. 8. Pari- 
melalagar quotes 11 . 71-3 in his commentary. It may be noted in passing 
that these duties correspond to the injunctions of Hindu law. Chaste 
women could not give charity in the absence of their husbands. 

* Atiyor-pdnku. Five are distinguished : one who plays with a child, 
one who feeds it, one who lulls it to sleep, one who teaches it to speak, and 
its foster-mother. See Jlvahacintdmaij.i, st. 363 and commentaty. 

XVI. 94] Kolaikkalakkadai 223 

good conduct, and chastity,^ hast rid me of my troubles by 
accompanying me. 

‘O purest gold, creeper, girl with fragrant curls of hair ! 

‘O embodiment of modesty, light of the vast world ! 

‘O tender offshoot of chastity, storehouse of virtues ! 

‘I shall go with one of the anklets that adorn thy 
beautiful feet and return after exchanging it for money. 

Till then do not lose heart.’ 

Closely embracing his lady-love of the long black eyes, 94-104 
feeling much for her being lonely and without relations, 
and restraining the tears rising in his eyes because of his 
mental anxiety, he left the home of the cowherds 
and wearily walked along the street, without knowing 
— because his caste men were not aware of it — that 
the humped bulF coming in front of him indicated a bad 
omen, passed beyond the taterumanram ; then passing 
through the streets of courtesans, he reached the bazaar. 

There he saw a goldsmith who with a coat on, was walk- 105-112 
ing at some distance,® pincers in hand, followed by a 
hundred goldsmiths famous for their delicate workmanship 
and exquisite handiwork in jewellery and thinking within 
himself that this must be the state goldsmith® of the much- 
celebrated Pandyan, Kovalan asked him, ‘Can you please 
estimate the price of an ornament for an ankle, suitable for 
the queen of the protecting king?’ 

^ These four attributes took the place of parents, maidservants, companions 
and associates. The P.ingalandai Nighantu speaks of ndrgunam as four 
masculine qualities and four feminine qualities. 

® Superstition of the lyar in observing bad and good omens. What was 
a superstition for one community was not for another. Vai^yas did not 
consider a humped bull coming in front a bad omen, but cowherds did. 

^ Arumpadavuraiasiriyar remarks, that being a member of a low 
caste, he kept himself at a respectable distance from the members of higher 
castes. But the expression may be interpreted as referring to the particular 
gait of the goldsmith which distinguished him from others of his class. 

* Kam^ulvinaijnar and nunvinaikhollar are interpreted by Adiyarkkunallar 
as skilled in ‘melting gold’ and ‘making beautiful jewels’. 

* The office of state goldsmith was an institution in ancient India. See 
Kaut. Artha., Bk. IT, § 13- 

224 Silappadikaram [XVI. 113 

1 13-124 The goldsmith who resembled Yama’s messenger 
replied (as if) reverentially, ‘Though I am ignorant about 
that,^ I can make crowns and other ornaments required 
by kings.’ Thereupon Kovalan opened the bundle which 
contained the invaluable anklet. The goldsmith, a 
habitual liar, minutely examined the workmanship of the 
artistic anklet, embossed with shining gold and containing 
inside the best rubies and diamonds carved with serried 
depressions, and said, ‘This anklet can be demanded by 
none other than the great queen (Kopperundevi). I shall 
go now and inform the victorious king about this. Till 
I return, please stay here near my little hut.’ 

1 25-1 30 Then Kovalan went to the devakottam^ near that 
lowly man’s house, and when he had entered a small 
chamber, the hard-hearted thief (goldsmith) said to 
himself, ‘Before the fact of my having stolen the anklet 
is publicly known,® I will accuse this stranger from 
another land of the theft to the king’, and walked on 
(to the palace). 

131-138 There the great queen imagining that the king’s heart 
had been won by the graceful appearance of the Madura 
dancing-girls who sang different songs, and displayed the 
wealth of their instrumental music in their dances, hid her 
jealousy in a love-quarrel, and feigning a headache left 
him. When his ministers and councillors^ went away, the 
king repaired to the great queen’s chamber attended by 
female servants with long glowing eyes. 

1 39“ 147 The goldsmith who saw the king at the last entrance 
of the guarded gateway prostrated himself before him, and 
praising him in several ways, said : ‘The thief who used 

^ Npte the dishonesty of the goldsmith, and the price he pays for it in 
the end. 

^ Devakottam may refer to a small shrine erected in front of the gold- 
smith’s shop. 

^ From this it would appear that the goldsmith had very recently robbed 
the queen of her anklet, and this fact was not yet known to the public. 

^ The term used in the text is inantiraiiuffam^ 

XVI. 148] Kolaikkalakkadai 22$ 

neither crow-bar nor auger/ but relied on the strength of 
sleep-giving incantations to put to sleep the watchmen at 
the gate before stealing the palace anklet/ is now staying 
in my lowly little hut hiding himself from the watchmen 
of this bustling city.’ 

Because that was the moment of the ripening of past 148-153 
karma, the wearer of the garland of margosa'* flowers (the 
king) without any inquiry, sent for the city watchmen and 
ordered : ‘Now, if you find the foot-ornament of my con- 
sort resembling the flower-garland in the possession of an 
expert thief, kill him,‘^ and bring the anklet here.’ 

At this command of the king, the villainous goldsmith, 
glad at heart, said to himself, ‘ I have achieved what I 
wished,’ and approaching Kovalan, whose cruel fate had 
enmeshed him in its close net, said (pointing to the men), 

‘ These have come here to see the anklet at the bidding 
of the king, possessor of the victorious army’. This false 
goldsmith convincingly explained to them all the things 
relating to the workmanship of the anklet. But the valiant 
(executioners) observed : ‘The appearance and features of 
this man do not show him to be deserving of execution.’® 

The wily goldsmith smiled scornfully at them, and set 164-173 
forth his reasons ‘Mantra, daiva, drugs, omen, trickery, 
place, time and instrument are the eight aids employed by 
low persons pursuing the ignoble profession of thieves. If 
you are deceived by this man’s drugs, you will expose 

^ Crowbars and boring sticks were some of the instruments of robbers. 
Note also the belief in incantations. 

^ Koil is a technical term for the palace. 

® The Pan(^yan king wore a margosa garland. 

* This is a case of punishment without judicial trial, contrary to the 
accepted practice. This was resorted to by the king in order to reconcile his 

* The first impression of the executioners was that Kovalan was 

® The eight aids employed by a thief. Dr Swaminatha Aiyar shows in 
a footnote that kalavunul (the science of theft) was the Heyasdstra attributed 
to Kar^isuta, the teacher of Kaca. 


226 The Silappadikaram [XVL 174 

yourselves to the great wrath of our renowned king. If 
thieves utter a mantra and meditate upon it, they can 
become invisible like the sons of gods.^ 

174-182 ‘If they perform the feat of making gods appear before 
them, they can show in their hands the stolen objects and 
yet walk safely away. By stupefying us with their drugs 
they can make us sit still in the same place. Unless a 
good omen presents itself they do not steal, however 
valuable a thing, even if it easily falls into their hands. If 
they resort to magic, ^ they can deprive even Indr a of the 
garland on his breast. 

183-189 ‘If they decide upon the place whence they will to steal 
a particular object, who could discover them at that place? 
If they decide upon the time and get possession of the 
object, even the gods could not deprive them of it. If 
they steal valuables by employing their tools, who, in this 
wide world, could find them out? To them, there is 
neither day nor night. If you would listen to the science 
of theft,® there is no end to it. 

190-201 ‘Once, a certain thief stayed at the palace gate like an 
ambassador (all the day) and when it grew dark, disguised 
as a woman, he entered without any hesitation, in the 
shadow cast by the lamp, and in an instant removed the 
garland of diamonds sparkling like the sun’s rays^ from 
the Crown Prince.® The awakened (prince) found it 

^ The term in the text Indirakumarar, literally means sons of Indra. 
Adiyarkkunallar interprets Indirar as devar. Therefore the expression may 
mean sons of gods. The commentator points to another interpretation : 

® Tantira-karanam, in the text refers to one of the eight aids mentioned 
in the work. According to the Arumpadauurai, it is a reference to Karavata- 
sastram itself. 

® The reference here is certainly to Karavataniil (Karavitam) or Karva^a 
by Miiladeva. Can it be a reference to the Kharapatta of Kautalya? See 
T. Ganapati Sastri’s edition of the Arthasdstra, Vol. II, p. 156, 11 . 5-6 ; also 
J. J. Meyer, Das AlUndische Buch^ p. 953. 

^ The implication is that the brilliance of the diamonds was such that 
they served as the light with which the thief was able to remove them. 

® The reigning Pandyan king was Neduhjeliyan. His younger brother’s 
garland was stolen by a skilled thief. 

XVL 202] Kolaikkalakkadai 227 

missing from his shoulders and drew his sword from its 
sheath, which the thief clasped and warded off all the blows 
with it. Tired of this, the prince attempted a hand-to-hand 
fight, but the thief, expert in his science, escaped after 
making the prince attack a jewelled pillar. If anyone of 
you has seen him, show him to us. Is there any on this 
earth who is equal to this thief?’ 

Among those who heard this murderous goldsmith, a 202-21 1 
young executioner with a lance in his hands spoke : ‘Once 
on a dark night in the middle of the rainy season, when 
all the village was deep in sleep there appeared a thief, ^ 
with a chisel used for splitting the earth, clothed in blue 
robes, desirous of jewels, fierce like a tiger. I unsheathed 
my sword, but he plucked it from my hands and could not 
afterwards be seen anywhere. Rare indeed are the deeds 
of thieves. Failure to carry out the king’s orders will 
cause trouble to us. O men of martial valour, say what 
is to be done.’ 

At this, an unlettered person, in a fit of drunkenness, 2 12-2 17 
hurled his well-polished sword from his hand (upon 
Kovalan), cutting him across. The blood that gushed, 
forth from the wound spread over Mother Earth, who 
felt extreme agony. Vanquished by his pre-destined fate, 

Kovalan fell, causing the Pandyan sceptre to become 


Because of the injustice done to Kannaki’s husband, 
the never-crooked sceptre of the Pandyan, became crook- 
ed, — ^a result of pre-ordained fate. Good and bad actions 
yield their results unfailingly. Therefore always perform 
righteous deeds. 

^'See Maduraikkanji, IL 639-42. Another instance of a thief and thieving 
is furnished. 

Canto XVII 




10 ‘The morning drum will soon be heard in the palace 
of the Pandyan, famous for his garlanded white umbrella. 
He is acknowledged ruler of the whole earth by all the 
kings of Jambudvipa, with its cool groves, and even by 
the Cola and Cera who have carved their Tiger^ and 
Bow^ marks side by side with the Fish® carved by the 
Pandyan himself on the Himalayan crests. It is our turn 
to supply ghee,’ said the elderly lady (Madari)"* calling to 
her daughter Aiyai, who came out with the churning stick 
and rope. 


Then she said : 

‘Alas ! The milk in the pot has not curdled. The 
beautiful eyes of the big humped bulls are full of tears ; 
some calamity is happening. 

‘The fragrant butter in the does not melt. The 
lambs do not frisk about ; some calamity is happening. 

* The emblem of the Cola monarch. 

® The ensign of the Cera. 

® The emblem of the Pandya monarch. This shows that all the three Tamil 
kings led Himalayan expeditions. 

* The cowherds evidently supplied the palace with ghee by turn, A 
similar custom is referred to in the Vi^nu Purana^ Bk. Vj cli 15, st. 22. It 
appears that Kamsa, king of Mathura, was supplied with milk and ghee by 
the cowherds of the Vraja or Gokula. In sending Akrura to fetch Krsna and 
his brother Rama, Kamsa asked Akrura to tell the cowherds to speed up the 
supply of milk and ghee to the palace. 

* A pot suspended in a network of rope or iron. 


XVII] Acciyarkuravai 

‘Herds of cows with their foior-nippled udders axe 
shuddering- and bellowing in fear ; the big bells (tied 
to their necks) fall down. O ! Some calamity is 
happening. ’ ^ 


The milk in the pot not curdling, the beautiful eyes of 
the humped bulls being filled with tears, the butter in the 
uri not melting, the lambs lying without frisking, and the 
big bells falling down to the earth — ^all these signs portend 
some coming evil. Looking at her daughter she (Madari) 
said : ‘Do not feel perturbed. To alleviate the grief of 
our cattle, we shall dance the kuravai,^ in the presence of 
Kannaki, that jewel among the damsels of the earth. 
Among the many boyhood games^ played by Mayavan and 
his elder brother Balarama in the erumanram of the Ayar- 
padi,'^ the kuravai was one. It was played by Mayavan 
with Pinnai of the long lance-like eyes. 

■*' The evil portents which point to an impending calamity according to 
the belief of the cowherds. 

® After enumerating again the evil portents, the cowherdess told her 
daughter the remedy to avert the impending calamity. The remedy was 
kuravai (rasakrlda) the origin of which is traced back to Lord Krsna and 
his spouse Nappinnai. In commenting on the term rasa occurring in Visnu 
Parana^ (Bk. V, ch. 13, pp. 532-5), H. H. Wilson, the translator, notes the 
following. * The rasa dance is a dance in which men and women hold each 
other’s hands and go round in a circle, singing airs varying in melody and 
tune. ’ According to Bharata the number of persons should not exceed sixty- 
four. There is a reference to the rdsamandala in the Brahmavaivartta 
Purdna where Radha is accompanied by thirty-six Gopis, each of the latter 
being attended by many inferior personages. In the Brahmavaivartta the 
mandala is not a ring of dancers but a circle of definite space within which 
Krsna, Radha, and the G5pis diverted themselves, 

® Here is a distinct reference to a number of dramatic performances 
by the boy Krsna with Balarama and Nappinnai. The kuravai was one such 
performance- The term natakam cannot be taken in its absolute sense as a 
dramatic composition. 

^ Kyar-fddi = the quarters of the cowherds; Gdkulam is perhaps its Sanskrit 
equivalent. Erumanram or Tdterumanram is the public place of the Ayar* 
It was an open courtyard with a raised platform, 



The Silappadikaram 


1. ‘This sweet lady with the garland of flowers 
loves him who can jump upon the black bull undaunted 
by its rage,’ she said, pointing to a certain damsel. 

2. ‘The shoulders of this girl with golden brace- 
lets become the possession of him, who can suppress the 
bull with red spots® on its forehead. 

3. ‘This girl with her beautiful hair decked with 
jasmine flowers is the recognized bride for him who can 
mount that strong young bull. 

4. ‘The shoulders of this creeper-like damsel will 
be owned by him who can crush the bull with the small 
white spots. 

5. ‘The soft breasts of this creeper -like girl are 
the possession of him who can overcome the bull with the 
golden spots. 

6. ‘This damsel with her beauteous hair decked 
with konrai flowers, becomes the wife of him who can 
mount that victorious young bull. 

7. ‘This girl resembling burgeoning flowers will 
be of right his, who can control the milk-white bull.’ 

^ It was a custom in the cowherd community for young girls, until 

they were married, to select their own bulls from the common stall, and to 
tend them. The bulls would then be let loose, and whichever young cowherd 
could successfully bring the beast under ct>ntrol in an open contest, was 

deemed the proper life-partner for the girl. Apparently it was one of the ancient 
wedding customs among the Ayar, 'This custom also can be traced to their 

family deity Krsna, who, tradition affirms, curbed the fury of seven 
bulls coloured black, white, and brown, and married the girls who were 
tending them. The Alvars, who flourished several centuries after the compo- 
sition of the Silappadikdra^n, also attribute this incident to Krsna. (See 

Dikshitar’s article on ‘Krsna in Tamil Literature ’ in Indian Culture, Vol. IV, 
No. 3, Calcutta, 1937-) One can see a remnant of this institution surviving today 
in the form of mimic shows on the Htdfju-Pongal day following Pongal festival 
every year, in the middle of January. Selected hulls are let loose in the villages 
with new towels and other things tied to their necks or horns. Many people 
of all castes come from neighbouring villages and take part in the contest 
to bring the animal under control. But now it has lost all connexion with 

^ Cf. Kalittogaif ‘Mullai’, ch. 4, st. 65 in this connexion. The expression 
used is neziiccwalair 





(Then the elderly Madari proceeded to allocate their 
places in the dance) saying to her daughter that these seven 
young damsels had selected seven bulls from the cattle 
stall and nourished them. 

She made them stand in the traditional order (accord- 
ing to the arrangement of the seven strings in the ydl) and 
gave them names appropriate to their acting."^ Beginning 
from the western end, the regular places (of these girls) 
were kural, tuttam, kaikkilai, ulai, ili, •vilari and tdram. 
These are the names which were given by the fragrant 
haired lady (Madari). 

She (who stood at the place) of the hural was named 
Maya van. She (who stood at the place) of ili was called 
(by the name of) the victorious Balarama. She (who 
stood at the place) of tuttam represented the cowherdess 
Pinnai. The others were named in the order described 

Pinnai and tdram were then joined to Mayavan ; ulai 
and vilari joined the white Balarama. Kaikkilai stood to 
the left of Pinnai. The good vilari stood to the right of 
tdram (muttai, also mundai). 

Among them, 

She who garlanded Mayavan with the luxurious tulasi 
garland, would perform the faultless kuravai dance. Is 
Pinnai of bangled arms so beautiful that He who had won 

^ The seven girls selected for the kuravai dance were those who tended 
bulls in their cattle-stalls for the sake of getting suitable husbands. The 
song sung stated who was for whom. In this particular performance the 
seven maidens represented the seven strings of the ydl in their order and were 
named after each respective string. 

® This is called vatiappdJai. For a detailed description see Abraham 
Pandithar’s Karmzdmrta&dgaram, 

® Kaikkilai, ulai, vilari, and tdram. High and low pitched strings are 
called tdra and majtdara. See Visnu Purdt^a, Bk. V, ch.13, st. 6. 

232 The Silappadikaram [XVII 

great reputation by measuring the universe, would not 
look at Laksmi dwelling in his own breast ? Ha ! Ha ! 

So said Madari (in great glee). 


They then^ stood evenly in the form of a circle, and 
clasping their fingers in the karkataka pose,® began the 
dance in that posture. In the beginning the girl repre- 
senting the hural looked at her neighbour the tuttam and 
said, ‘We shall sing with the sweet pan called mullai, in 
honour of Him who broke the kurimda^ tree in an exten- 
sive upland (of the Gokula).’ 

Thus saying, (the damsel representing) the kural began 
to sing in a low tone, (the damsel representing) the ili to 
sing in a level tone, and (the damsel representing) the 
tuttam to sing in a high tone. The low singer represent- 
ing vilari in her low pitch followed the tone of her ally 
representing the tuttam. 


1. O friend! If Mayavan (Lord Krsna), who 
used a calf as a stick to knock down (vila) fruits,^ comes 
here among our cattle, shall we not hear Him playing on 
his fine konrai flute 

2. O friend ! If Mayavan, who churned the ocean 
with a serpent as his rope, comes here among our cattle, 
shall we not hear Him playing on his fine dmhal flute? 

^ What follows is a description of the actual dance. 

® The karkataka pose was made by each dancer bending her middle finger 
and ring finger in front, and joining the other two with the respective two 
fingers of the maid next to her, and so on, the big finger being excepted. In that 
posture each pair of clasped hands resembled a crab (karkata). 

® The kurunda tree is a species of wild lime (Atalantia), This was one 
of the heroic exploits attributed to Krsna. It is said that a demon stood 
in the form of a tree to deceive and kill Kpsna. This was perceived by the 
god who killed the demon by uprooting the tree. 

^ Balakrida of Krsna, Cf. Bhdga, Pur., Bk. X, ch. i8, st. 12-15. 

® Konraii dmhal and mullai are referred to. Five kinds of flutes are 
said to have been in ^existence. 

XVII] Acciyarkuravai 233 

3. O friend ! If Mayavan, who broke the kurunda 
tree^ in our extensive uplands comes during the day among 
our cattle, shall we not hear him playing on his fine mullai 

We shall sing of the charming beauty of Pinnai as 
she danced with her husband on the banks of the 

1. "How can we describe the form of Him who 
hid the clothes of the slender-waisted lady® whose figure 
was bent to the point of breaking ? Or how can we describe 
the face of the handsome lady who was (visibly) touched 
by the regretful look of Him who hid her clothes 

2. ‘How can we describe the perfection of her 
who stole the heart of her husband, who deceived all in 
the water-sports of the Yamuna? How can we describe 
the form of Him who stole away the charm and the bangles 
of her, who had captivated him? 

3. ‘How can we describe the face of the lady who 
hid it in her hands when she lost her clothes and bangles? 
Or how can we describe the beauty of him who was pained 
by the distress of her who hid her face in her hands?’ 



With fragrant flower-buds in her locks of hair, Pinnai, 
has, to her left, the sea-coloured god who hid the sun 
with his discus and to her right, his elder brother whose 
body is white like the moon. Among her ( Pinnai’ s) 

* Cf* the Bhdga. Pur., Bk* X, ch. 30-34. 

® Tamil, Tolunai. 

® The poet makes out that Krsna hid the clothes of Pinnai but felt 
sorry when he noticed a change of colour in her face. Noticing his feeling 
for her, Pinnai also was troubled. 

* The plain meaning is that the great dissembler Krsna deceived all the 
world ; but Pinnai deceived him by stealing his heart. The term rnrai may 
mean either beauty or chastity. 

* The reference is to the legend oT Krsna having hid the snn with His 

234 The Silappadikaram [XVII 

choristers is the Vedic bard Narada^ who keeps correct 
time to her strains by playing upon the first string. 

Our Pinnai, with the nape of her neck bent, stood 
on the right of May a van bright as the neck of a peacock, 
and on the left of his elder brother whose body was white 
as a flower-stalk. He who plays upon the first string, 
beating time to her strain, is Narada, the foremost 


O splendid was the kuravai dance praised by As5dai 
and danced in the tdterumanram by Maya van,® his elder 
brother, and Pinnai of the striped bracelet, which dis- 
arranged the flower wreaths on the curly heads of the 
young cowherdesses , who with measured tread were beat- 
ing time® with their bangled hands. 

‘O friends !’ 

Madari said. 'All of us shall sing the song of ulvari 
and praise the god, riding upon the Grauda bird. Let us 
praise him !’ 


I . On the breast of the Pandyan king'^ can be seen 
a garland painted with Podiyil sandal-paste,® a string 

^During the dance of Krsna and Balarama it is said that sage Narada, 
the first vlna master of the world, was beating time. He was a 
Vedic bard in the sense that a Siihsd is attributed to him. There is now 
extant the Narada-Sik^d^ a treatise on Vedic music (published in the Benares 
Chaukhamba Sanskrit Series). The idea is that the girl who represented 
Narada, followed Pinnai in her song and dance. 

® Mayavan can be translated literally as the Great Dissembler. 

^ The plain meaning* runs thus: ‘ To the movement of the feet of the 
principal figures Krsna, Balarama and Pinnai, the cowherdesses beat time 
during the dance. By so doing these maidens became wearied in the perfor- 
mance, but not the chief dancers.’ 

Note that the poet, who was a Cera prince, gives prominence to the 
Pandya and C5la and relegates his own king to third place, demonstrat- 
ing that he is impartial in his treatment of the subject. The place of honour 
given to the Pandyan may also be due to the fact that the poet is now dealing 
with the ‘Maduraikkandam’. 

* This means that sandal-pasle was painted on hjs breast to look like 
a garland. 

XVII] Acciyarkuravai 235 

garland of pearls, and a jewelled garland of the king of 

It is said that he who wears the garland of the king 
of gods’^ is He who tended the cattle in the Gdkulam 
(adjoining) the flourishing Dvaraka,^ and rent asunder 
the kurunda tree®. 

2. King Valavan (the Cola)^ the ruler of fortified 
Puhar carved the Tiger on the golden crests of the 
Himalayas and ruled the earth. 

It is said that king Valavan, the ruler of fortified Puhar, 
holds a golden discus® as a weapon of war. 

3. The Cera, king of kings, and the ruler of 
flourishing Vanji, crossed the ocean and destroyed the 
never-ageing kadamba tree.® 

It is said of this Cera, king of kings, and ruler of 
flourishing Vanji, ^ that he is Visnu himself who swung 
His hill-like shoulders and churned the ocean.® 

^For the legend see Tiruvilaiyd^al Purdnam^ §44* 

® Dvaraka was the capital of the ancient Yadava kingdom, over which 
Krsna ruled. It may be noted that Mathura was originally the capital, and 
it was under Krsna’s guidance that the transference of the capital was 
effected. See Visnu Purdna^ Bk. V, ch. 23. 

® This and the following tw’o stanzas represent the three kings as Visnu 
and thus attribute divinity to the ruling chieftains. The divine power of 
kings was accepted as a matter of course in ancient India. 

^ The reference seems to be to the famous Karikala. See Introduction, 
p. 22, 

® Visnu is said to wield a discus as a weapon of war. The usual 
weapons attributed to him are SankhUf cahra and gada. 

® From Aham.y st. 199, we see that Nannan was the head of the Kadamba 
clan and being powerful took possession of some Cera territory and Nar- 
mudicceral had to discomfit him and take back the lost possessions. It also 
transpires that chiefs who held island kingdoms thought that they were 
unassailable- One such was the kingdom of the Kadambas. It would appear 
that Senguttuvan inflicted a crushing defeat on them and earned the title 
kadal-fiiakdtfiya (see Padtrr., padikam 4 and 5). 

^ The Cera capital, identified with Karuvur. Contra K. G. Sesha Aiyar, 
in the ]. 7 . 77 -, Vol. XII, pp. 1S4-214, 1933. See also his Cera Kings of the 
Sangam Period {1937), ch. 5. 

® For this legend see Bhdga. Pur., Bk. VIII, ch. 5, st. ii ff. 

236 The Silappadikaram [XVII 




1. O sea-hued god! Once, in days gone by, you 
churned the bowels of the sea,^ using the northern moun- 
tain^ for your churning stick and Vasuki® for your rope. 
O Lord with the lotus in your navel, ^ your hands which 
once did churn were fastened with the churning rope of 
Asodai.® Is that your mdyd?^ O, deceptive indeed is 
your work 1 

2 . O wearer of the luxurious tulasi garland 1 
When the host of the Devas praised you reverentially as 
the One Supreme Being, you, who could never know 
hunger, ate up the whole universe. Your mouth which 
swallowed thus (the whole universe), ate by stealth the 
butter from the pot in the uri.^ Is it your mdyd? Decep- 
tive indeed is your work 1 

3 . O Tirumal I When the assembled host of 
Devas worshipped and praised you, you overstepped the 
three worlds'* with your two lotus feet, to drive away 
darkness.^® O Narasimha ! Destroyer of enemies P’' Yet 

^ Bhaga. Pur.^ Bk. X, ch. 9, st. 14-20. 

® Mandaragiri. This finds mention in all Purdnas, 

^ Vasuki is the great serpent which was used as the rope in the mythical 
churning of the ocean. 

^ Sanskrit, Padmanabha. 

® Ya^oda fastened baby Krsna with the rope as a punishment for stealing 
butter from other houses. (See Visnu Pur an a. ^ Bk V., ch. 6.) 

® Mdyd is a subtle word that means deception or illusion. It is a term 
of much philosophical significance. 

^ Adiyarkkunallar conjectures that it may be a reference to the god 
accepted by the followers of all the six systems of philosophy. 

® See for this legend the Bhdga, Pur.^ Bk. VIII, ch. 29-31. 

® The reference is to the Trivikrama avatar of Visnu. See Bhaga. Pur., 
Bk. VIIT, ch. 20-21. A huge figure representing the incarnation is found 
in the UlakaJandaperumaJ-koil, Conjeevaram. 

In other words ‘spreading divine light everywhere’. 

Narasimha, as an incarnation of Visnu, half-man and half-lion, to kill 
the demon Hiranyaka^ipu. 

XVII] Acciyarkuravai :237 

those feet of yours which thus overstepped, went as the 
messengers of the five Pandavas/ Is this your may a,} 
Deceptive indeed is your work ! 




1. Vain are the ears which do not hear the glory 
of the doughty champion, who measured the three worlds 
with His two feet and yet found them too small ; who 
penetrated with His younger brother^ into the wild jungle 
to the reddening of His lotus-feet ; who pulled down in 
battle the 3 d fortress,^ and deprived ancient Lanka of its 
protection/ Vain are the ears which do not hear® the 
glory of Tirumal. 

2. Vain are the eyes which do not see the dark- 
hued Lord, the great God, the Mayavan (Dissembler), 
the God in the blossomed lotus of whose navel appeared 
all the great worlds, and who has red eyes, red feet, red 
hands, and red lips.® Vain are the eyes of those who 
while looking (upon the Lord) must wink.’’ 

3. Vain is the tongue that will not praise Him who 
triumphed over the deceit of the foolish schemer Kamsa,® 

1 See Mhb., * Udyoga \ ch. 90-gi. 

® Rama’s conquest of Ceylon with his brother. See the Rdmdyai^a. 

® The So fortress or the Soriapura of Bana was pulled down and its 
inmates put to death. This interpretation cannot fit in here. Sd may mean 
the great and wonderful fortress and So aran is an attribute of the citadel 
of Lanka. 

^ Rama’s conquest of Ceylon with his brother. See the Rdmdyafj,a, 
‘ Yuddha ’. 

® This is the Harikathdsravanam so much stressed in the Bhdga, Ptir. 

« His form was dark except for his eyes, feet, hands, and lips which 
were reddish. 

^ Winking eyes are the eyes of ordinary mortals. Thus this sight can be 
enjoyed only by gods whose €3^es are said not to wink. 

® For the many villainous deeds of Kamsa, see the Bhdga. Pur,, Bk. X, 
ch. 36 ; also the Vision Purdna, Bk. V, ch. to. 

238 The Silappadikaram [XVII 

and who went as the messenger o£ the five Pandavas to 
the Hundred (Kauravas), praised (by the Devas) in all 
four directions, to the accompaniment of Vedic chanting/ 
Vain is the tongue which does not say ‘Narayana’. 

'May the deity celebrated in the kuravai dance in 
which we were now engaged alleviate the distress which 
has befallen our cattle ] May the drumstick of the drum 
of our Pandyan with the shoulder-ornaments, who broke 
the crown of Indra,^ whose weapon is the victorious 
thunder, strike terror among his enemies and every day 
proclaim his victory !’ 

^ He was himself a Veda Purusa and hence the Vedas in mortal form 
followed Him. 

^ See the Tiruvilaiy a Jaipur mzam, § 44. It must be noted that the poet 
attributes the heroic exploits of an ancestor of the Pandyan king to the ruling 
monarch. The idea is that he belongs to a distinguished line of kings. 

Canto XVIII 




There the elderly cowherdess of dynamic charm^ went to i 
bathe and to worship with flowers, incense, sandal-paste, 
and garlands, Nedumah on the bank of the deep Vaigai. 
Towards the close of the kuravai dance someone® who had 
heard a cry in the city came back in haste. 

She said nothing ; but stood without opening her g 
mouth to Kannaki, who said : 

' O ! friend, speak, speak out. ^ 

T do not see my husband. My mind is in a flutter. 
The air expelled from my lungs surpasses the air (driven 
into the fire) from bellows. If the air expelled from my 
lungs surpasses the air from bellows, will you not tell me 
what is being said in the city?* Long live you, friend ! 

‘Even during daytime a fit of shivering® takes hold of i 
me. Not seeing my beloved, my heart is restless with 
grief. As my mind is restless with grief at not seeing my 
beloved, tell me what it is that people said. Bless you, 
my friend. 

^ The expression in the text is ddiya sdyaldj. While the Arumpadavurm 
sees in sdyaldl a reference to Aiyai, Adiyarkkunallar interprets it as some 
other lady. Both do not seem to fit. 

* Sri Iruntavalamudaiyar or Antaravanattemperuman. The offerings to 
the god consisted of flowers, sandal-paste, etc. In India the end of the most 
important festivals and rituals was marked by a sacred bath, the avabhrtasnd- 
nam of Sanskrit literature. See Sentamil, Vol. VIII, p. 183 f. 

® This may refer to Aiyai or any other lady. It is here taken as a 
reference to Aiyai, from the fact that Kannaki addresses her as friend and 
companion later on. From this we have to infer that only Aiyai’s mother 
Madari went to the river and the temple there, while Aiyai remained at home. 
Or, Madari who went to the river, heard the news and returned post-haste. 

Etildr is the term for people of the same neighbourhood. 

* Generated by extreme fear. 









^40 ^h.e Silappadikaram [XVII. 20 

‘I seek your aid, friend ! I do not see my lord return- 
ing. I scent some danger ; my mind faints. As my 
mind faints at something hidden from me, I pray you, my 
friend, tell me, what it is that they (encaldry said (in the 
city) . 

She replied ; 

'O ! Saying that he was the thief who silently stole the 
glittering anklet from the palace, the king’s residence — 
that he was the thief who silently stole — the men who 
wore jingling anklets executed him.’ 

Hearing this, Ka^naki sprang up in rage and then fell 
down on the earth, as if the rising moon had fallen with the 
clouds on the wide earth. ^ She wept making her red eyes 
redder. She cried out, ‘O 1 Where are you, my dear 
husband ? Ah ! Ah !’ , and fell down in a swoon. 

(Recovering, she again continued to rave) 

‘Like the distressed women who keep difficult vows 
after their loving Husbands have been bmnt in fire,® am 
I to perish in misery, because I have lost my loving 
husband through the fault of the king censured by his 
subjects ? 

‘Like the distressed women who, after losing their 
husbands who had worn fragrant garlands on their broad 
chests,' go in despair to many places of pilgrimage'^ and 
bathe therein, am I to perish in anguish, O foolish goddess 

^ Encdldr is the term for ‘others’, ‘strangers’. The citizens of this place 
were strangers to Ka^inaki who had only arrived that day. 

® The moon is compared to Kannaki’s face and the clouds to locks of 
her hair. 

® It transpires from this that cremation and not burial was customary 
and that widows led a life of fasting and arduous penance. They cared no 
more for their mortal bodies. 

* Even today Hindu widows go on pilgrimages after the decease of 
their husbands to bathe in the waters of holy rivers and pools in 
order to obtain final salvation. Bathing in tlrthas and fasting are generally 
practised by women after the death of their husbands. It may be noted that 
the practice of suttee was not the rule but only the exception- We may 
call attention here to a statement of the Manimekalai, canto ii, 11 . 42-50, 
where three classes of women are distinguished. 


XVIII. 42] 


of Dharma,^ through the fault of the king wielding the 
sceptre of injustice? 

‘Like the afflicted women, who are ever plunged into 42-45 
hard vows of widowhood after their beloved husbands 
have fallen a prey to the funeral fire, am I to pine away 
in grief, losing fame in this life also, through the wrong 
committed by the Pandyan, whose sceptre swerved from 
the righteous path? 

‘0 ! Look at me. 4^-53 

‘Hear my words, ^ O all you good damsels of the cow- 
herd community who have gathered here, and have with 
foresight, engaged yourselves in the kuravai P Hear my 
words ! Hear, all of you cowherd girls ! 

‘ 0, Lord of the hot rays P You who are a witness for 
all the deeds of this seagirt world, speak ! Is my husband 
a thief?’ 

Then was heard a voice from the welkin : ‘ He is not 

a thief, O, lady of carp-like eyes ! This city will be con- 
sumed by blazing flames.’ 

According to Arumpadavuraiya^iriyar, the term aram stands here 

for the deity of righteousness or the Goddess of Dharma. Kannaki addresses 
the deity as a foolish Goddess for She was a witness of the king’s injustice 
towards her innocent husband. This suggests the belief that Fate is more 
powerful than Gods, and its laws cannot be transgressed. 

^ 11 . 47-53 are quoted by Naccinarkkiniyar in commenting on Tolfe., 

‘Ceyyul’., sfitra 149. 

® Kannaki pays a tribute to the cowherdesses who anticipated a calamity 
and danced the kuravai to avert it. 

^ The reference is to the Sun-god. Kannaki who had already addressed 

the Dharmadevata now appealed to the Sun. According to tradition the Sun 

is supposed to be the unfailing witness of all acts and deeds. She 

demanded from the Sun-god an answer to her question : ‘Is my husband a 

thief?’ The Sun immediately replied : ‘No’. In ancient times the sun cult 

was universal. Greece and Rome took to the worship of the sun, and Plato 
in the Republic idealizes the Sun as ‘the author of all light and life in the 
material world’. A great part of the oldest Vedic rituals aie permeated with 
the worship of the sun implicitly as well as explicitly. There was also 

the Mithraism of ancient Persia. 





1-8 So said the Sun. She of the sparkling armlets wasted 
no more time. Taking in her hands the remaining 
anklet she lamented : ‘O women of chastity who live 
in this city ruled by the unjust king ! Listen to this. 

‘ I have suffered incomparable distress this evening. 
That which should not occur, has occurred to me. How 
can I endure it.? See this injustice. 

‘Is my husband a thief? They’' killed him, unwilling to 
pay the price^ of my anklet. What injustice ! 

‘Shall I ever see (again) my beloved husband in the 
company of you all, O women of great chastity? See this 
injustice ! 

-14 ‘If I shall see my loving husband, shall I hear him 
utter the longed-for words, that he was not in the wrong? 
See this injustice ! 

‘If I do not hear him say that he was not in the 
wrong, condemn me by saying that I did unjust things.’’ 
Listen to this !’ 

^ According to Adiyarkkunallar the use of the verb in the plural shows 
that the responsibility for the deed did not merely rest with the king but with 
his ministers also. If this interpretcition has any value, it bears testimony 
to the fact that the king could not and did not act on his own initiative but 
consulted and took the previous advice of his cabinet. It is not clear whether 
in this particular case the advice was taken. It can be presumed, however, 
that no such consultation was held, 

® The implication here is that her anklet was so valuable that the king 
could not pay the full price for it and hence wanted to deprive her husband 
of it by killing him. To that extent the king alone was the thief according 
to Kannaki. 

® She vows that she will make her dead husbeind rise up and say that he 
was in the right and the king was in the wrong. This is in keeping with 
the prescription of the Rural that chaste ladies could do and undo anything. 

See Stla. (Tamil ed.), pp. 245, 315, 555. 


XIX. 15] 


All the residents of the flourishing city of Madura 15-18 
beheld the afflicted woman and were moved by her 
suffering agonies. In bewilderment they exclaimed : 

‘Since irremediable wrong has been done to this woman/ 
the unbending^ and righteous sceptre of the king has been 
bent. What is (the meaning of) this.? 

‘Lost is the glory of Tennavan, the king of kings 19-20 
(Pandya), possessor of the moonlike umbrella and the 
spear. ^ What is (the meaning of) this? 

‘The sheltering umbrella of the victorious king that 21-22 
had cooled the earth now generates heat. What is (the 
meaning of) this? 

‘A new, great goddess has now come before us bearing 23-26 
in her hand an anklet of pure gold. What is (the mean- 
ing of) this? 

‘This afflicted woman, weeping from her beautiful, red, 
and collyrium-stained eyes, looks as one possessed of 
divinity. What is (the meaning of) it?’ 

Saying such things, the people of Madura sympathized 27-30 
with her and comforted her by raising their accusing voices. 

Among those who caused the tumult, some showed (to 
Kannaki) the body of her (murdered) husband. She, the 
golden creeper, saw him ; but her he could not see. 

At that moment the red-rayed sun withdrew his fiery 31-34 
rays and hid himself in the great mountain, causing the 
vast world to be enveloped in darkness.^ In the brief 
twilight of that evening the flowery creeper-like Kannaki 

^ The sympathy of the women of Madura goes out to Kannaki. They 
condemn the king’s action, and seem to endow her with divinity. 

® This is an important statement as it suggests that the Pandyan rule 
was tainted with unrighteousness for the first time. Here we may recall the 
words of the Brahmana Kausikan at the commencement of canto xiii in 
which he paid a glowing tribute to the Pandyan rule. 

® The umbrella and the spear were symbols of grace and prowess 
respectively (see Pemmpdn., 1 . 422). 

^ The poet wants to impress upon us the idea that that sight was so 
horrible that even the sun shut his ej^es. In other words ‘the sun set and 
night came’. 

244 Silappadikaram [XIX. 39 






lamented aloud and the whole city reverberated with her 
cry. She who in the morning had received from her em- 
bracing husband the flower-wreath worn by him and 
decked her tresses with it, saw him that evening in a pool 
of blood gushing from his wounds. But he did not see 
her in an agony of grief. She then mourned for him in 
sorrow and wrath 

‘O ! Seeing me in deep affliction and without a word 
of consolation, is it fit that your body, fair as the fairest 
gold, should lie here in the dust? Will not people say that 
it was my inevitable fate^ that made the righteous king 
act thus wrongly in ignorance? 

‘Is it just that, in this elusive twilight with none to 
aid me, your garlanded beautiful breast should lie on the 
bare ground, before me who pine in lonely grief? Will 
not people say that it was my pre-ordained fate which made 
the Pandyan commit a wrong, that the whole world 
proclaimed unjust? 

‘Is it right that you should be lying here in the dust 
with blood gushing from your gaping wounds, in front of 
me, the unfortunate one, whose eyes are brimming with 
unceasing tears? Though his subjects accuse the Pand- 
yan who committed the crime, will not good people say 
that it is the result of my past actions ? 

‘Are there women® here, are there women? Are there 
women who can endure such injustice done to their 
wedded husbands ? Are there such women ? 

‘Are there good people? Are there good people here? 
Are there good people who nurture and fend for children 
born of them ? Are there good people here ? 

^ Kannaki wants the people to accuse her and not the king for her mis- 

® The poet repeats in a number of places his belief in past karma and its 

® According to Kannaki such injustice could not be perpetrated where good 
women, good men and gods live. In brief, she regards it as a god-forsaken 



XIX. 57] 

'Is there a god? Is there a god? Is there a god in S 7'^59 
this Kudal whose king’s sharp sword killed an innocent? 

Is there a god?’ 

While she lamented in this manner, and embraced the 60-67 
breast of her husband, where (once) the goddess of wealth 
had resided, he stood up exclaiming : 'O the full moon 
face has faded !’ and wiped away her tears with his hands/ 

The fair lady fell to the ground, sobbing and wailing, 
and clasped the feet of her revered husband with both her 
bangled hands. Then he arose and discarded his mortal 
form and departed surrounded by a host of gods, saying 
as he went : 'O, my dear, stay ; stay here.’ 

She cried out then : 'Is this illusion? What else is 68—75 
it? Is it a spirit that has deceived me? Where shall I 
go and find the truth of this ? Else I will not seek for 
my husband till my furious wrath is appeased. I will meet 
the cruel king {Uvendan) and ask him for an explanation 
of his action.’ So saying she arose. As she stood up, 
she recollected her terrible dream, and her long carp-like 
eyes were overflowing with tears. She stood up and re- 
membered it.^ Wiping away her tears she went to the 
front gate of the king’s palace. 

^ This means that the wounded Kovalan lay in a state of unconsciousness 
for a long time, and smitten by a flash of consciousness, he rose up to 
look at her changed face for the last time, and removed her tears. He died 
with his last words, ‘ Stay here ! ’ It is for students of psychology to explain 
this state of the mind of a dying man. But the poet puts it in such a way 
that we are moved to tears. 

® This apparently refers to the dream which Kannaki dreamt and recounted 
to Devandi, before setting out for Madura (see canto ix, II. 45-54). 





i_7 At that time (the queen narrates her dream) 

‘Alas ! I saw, I saw (in my dream) the sceptre fall 
and the umbrella. The belP at the palace-gate shook 
itself and tinkled as it quaked. 

‘Alas ! I also saw, I saw the eight cardinal points 
agitated : and darkness swallowed the sun. Alas ! I also 
saw, I saw an iridescent rainbow in the night ;■* a meteor 
glowing with heat fell by day. Alas !’ 


8-12 ‘The righteous sceptre and the white umbrella falling 
upside down to the hard ground ; the bell at the gate of 
our victorious king’s palace quivering and making the 
mind shiver with fear ; the rainbow appearing in the night, 
the meteor falling by day ; the eight cardinal points in a 
state of agitation ; all these indicate some impending 
calamity. I shall inform the king of it.’ 

13—23 Followed then by maids decorated with sparkling and 
radiant jewels, some of them bearing her looking-glass and 
others her ornaments, and surrounded by many hunch- 
backs, dwarfs, mutes and other menials, some carrying 
new clothes, some carrying silks, some carrying betel- 

^ There is no commentary of Adiyarkkunallar available for this and the 
succeeding ten cantos. 

® The queen who was fast asleep, woke up and recalled her dream 
indicative of evil portents to the State. 

® Kadaiinani or the bell of justice, also called ardyiccimani in Tamil 
literature. See Kamba-Ramayana^ ^Balah 

* X rainbow seen in the night is considered a sign of impending calamity. 
Or is it a reference to a comet? 



XX, 24] 

boxes, some carrying paints, some carrying pastes, some 
carrying the musk of deer, some carrying garlands, some 
carrying wreaths, some carrying feather-fans, and others 
carrying incense. Several ladies with fragrant flowers in 
their hair sang praises thus : ‘ Long live the great queen 
of the Pandyan (Perundevi)^ protecting the vast world’, 
and followed again by her companions and bodyguards 
making obeisance, and speaking in praise of her, the great 
queen (Kopperundevi) approached king Tennavan in whose 
bosom Laksmi ever dwells, and communicated her evil 
dream to him who was sitting on the lion-throne. 

Just then was heard a cry : ‘O, you gate-keeper P O, 24-29 
gate-keeper ! O, you gate-keeper of him who has lost his 
wisdom, and whose virtueless heart deviated from the 
path of kingly justice,® go tell (the king) that one who 
bears an anklet from a pair of tinkling anklets, and who 
has lost her husband, waits at the gate. O, tell him that.’ 

At this the gate-keeper approached the king, saying : 30-33 

‘Long live our lord of Korkai f long live the lord of 
the southern mountain ; long live Seliyan long live Ten- 
navan ; long live Pahcavan, unstigmatized by calumny ! 

‘Someone waits at the gate. She is not the deity 34“44 
Korravai, the goddess of victory,® holding in her hand the 
victorious spear, and standing upon the nape of the buffalo 
with an unceasing gush of blood from its fresh wound. 

Nor is she Anangu (Bhadrakali),’^ youngest sister of the 

^ The Arumpadavurai calls the queen iamhiratti. The editor draws our 

attention to the fact that even today in the Malainadu the king and the queen 
go by the technical terms iambirdn and tamhirdtti, 

® The doorkeeper addressed by Kannaki was an official of the royal house- 
hold, the dmivarika of Sanskrit literature. 

® The term used in the text is iraimtirai (Sanskrit, rdjamti). 

^ The quondam capital of the Pandyan kingdom. 

* Seliyan, like Tennavan is another Pandyan title. Pancavan is 3^et 

another title. 

® Mahisasuramardanl. 

^ Pitari (also Camundi) one of the seven Idkamdtas. (Also known as 
mahd^mdyd.) The names of these mother-goddesses are mentioned in the 

Pur anas. The Pur anas also speak of the fourteen daughters of Daksa 

248 The Silappadikaram [XX. 45 

seven virgins, who made Siva dance ; nor even is she. 
the Kali of the forest,^ which is the residence of ghosts 
and goblins ; nor again is she the goddess that tore up the 
mighty chest of Daruka.^ She appears to be filled with 
resentment. She seems to swell with rage. She has lost 
her husband ; she has in her hand an anklet of gold, and 
she waits at the gate.’® 

45~47 The king said : ‘Let her come ; bring her here !’ Then 
the gate-keeper brought her and showed to her the mon- 
arch and she went near the ruling king, who said : 

‘O lady with the tear-stained face, who art thou, my 
young lady.? What has brought thee hither before us?’ 

50-63 She replied : 

‘Inconsiderate king ! I have something to say. I am 
a native of much celebrated Puhar, one of whose kings 
of untarnished glory once allayed the suffering of a dove* 

married to the progenitor Ka. 4 yapa, as lokarndtas. It is also said that 
Camund! was responsible for making Siva dance. This dance was, perhaps, 
urdhvatdndctvam which tradition records in the shrine of Tiruvalangadu, near 

' It is to be noted that Kali is different from Bhadrakali. 

® The Goddess who killed the asiira Daruka. This mighty asura engaged 
in austere penance for which he was blessed by Brahma and told that he 
would not be killed by a Deva, asura^ man or any other creature or weapon 
either in the day or night. He was lording over the whole universe, and 
the chief gods attacked him in I’ain. Angry at his behaviour, a Kali came 
out of Siva’s third eye, and she was sent against Daruka. But even she could 
not equal him as he had the knowledge of a secret mantra which he and his 
wife alone knew. Uma went in the guise of a Brahmana lady to his wife 
and offered to pray for her husband’s life with her and thus learned the 
mantra. Then in the evening Kaji challenged him again and killed him. 
This Kali is is said to be Bhadrakaji whose cult is now prevalent in Malabar. 
The Malabar legends Kdlikarpam and Badrotpatti furnish details of this story. 
Cf. the article entitled ‘A Note on Kali or Bhagavati cult of Kerala’, by 
C. Achyuta Menon in S. K. .Aiyangar’s Commemoration V ohime (1936), 
pp. 234.39. 

® The gate-keeper’s first impression of Kannaki is that she looked like 
Mahi.sasuramardani, Camund?, or Kali. 

^ The story of Sibi. Cf. Pnram., st. 37, 39 etc. Kuralvenbd 72, Parimel- 
alagar, comment. The original story is contained in the epic MahdhJidrata. Sibi 
was a monarch of the solar race and renowned for his kindness to animals. 
Once a dove fell into his lap and asked him to protect it from the pursuit of 
a hawk. The hawk demanded of the king either the dove or flesh from his 

V alakkuraikadai 

XX. 64] 


to the wonderment of gods, and another sacrificed at his 
chariot-wheel his dear and only son\ grieved at the sight of 
a cow whose eyes were filled with pearl-like tears and 
who rang the bell at the palace-gate (for justice). From 
that city, Kovalan, the son of the merchant Masattuvan, 
belonging to a reputed and exalted family of faultless name, 
driven by fate, entered your city, O king with tinkling 
anklets, to earn his livelihood, when he was murdered by 
you while out to sell my anklet. I am his wife. My name 
is Kannaki.’ 

The king replied : ‘ Divine lady, it is not injustice to 64-65 
put a thief to death. Know that it is kingly justice.’^ 

The lustrous lady retorted : 

‘0 Lord of Korkai, you have fallen from your righteous 66-81 
course! My golden anklet contains gems inside.’ 

‘0 lady,’ said the king, ‘what you said now is well 
said. Our anklet contains pearls inside. Give it here.’ 

It was given and placed before him. Kannaki then 
broke open her beautiful anklet, and a gem flew into the 
king’s face. When he saw that gem, the king, with his 
umbrella falling and his sceptre faltering, said : ‘ Am I a 
ruler — I who have listened to the words of a goldsmith ? 

It is I who am the thief. The protection of the subjects of 
the southern kingdom has failed in my hands for the first 
time. Let me® depart from this life.’ Speaking thus 
the king fell down in a swoon, and his great queen col- 
lapsed and shuddered saying : ‘It is impossible for woman 

body equal to its weight. The king offered to give his flesh and cut it from 
his thigh and from other parts of his body. The weight proved unequal to 
that of the dove. He therefore offered his whole body to be weighed and 
thereby saved the poor dove from being killed. 

^ Manunitikanda Colan. Cf. palamoli, st. 93; Ktiralvenhd 547, Parimel- 
comment. He had his son crushed under the wheels of a chariot, 
because his own vehicle had accidentally run over a calf, for w’hich its mother, 
the cow, pleaded for justice by approaching the palace and ringing the bell of 
justice with its horns. (See Dikshitar, Studies in Tamil Literature, p. 191.) 

^ Rajaniti, also Dandaniti. 

® Ihe king’s sense of justice led to his extreme repentance and final 

250 Tlie Silappadikaram [XX 

to replace the loss of a husband/^ Worshipping both his 
feet, she fell down.^ Poor woman ! 


1. The saying of several assembly-men, that dharma 
will become the god of Death to those who do sinful deeds, 
is not wrong. O queen of the conquering king who did 
an unjust and cruel deed ! I have indeed committed a 
great sin.^ See what I shall do. 

2. Seeing me and terrified at me, the sinner with 
tears flowing from my red eyes, with the matchless anklet 
in my hand, with a body which seemed bereft of life, and 
with my dark forest-like tresses of hair, the Lord of 
Kudal became a corpse."^ 

3. The moment the Lord of Vaigai saw the dust on 
her (Kannaki^s) body, her dark hair hanging loose, her 
tears, and the matchless anklet in her hand he was over- 
whelmed/ 'And the moment his ears received the 
words of the lady he gave up his life. 

^ People who lose their parents may be consoled, but not women who 
lose their husbands. The idea is that husbands are their very lives ; without 
them women are dead to the world. Any relative can be substituted, but not 
a husband- The poet puts these words into the mouth of the queen when the 
king collapsed, but their significance is increased by their being addressed 
to Kannaki. This can be fitly compared with the statement in the 
Rdmaydna where Valmiki puts into the mouth of Rama a statement 
to the effect that wives and relatives can be found in every country but no 
country can give one one’s own brother. The verse runs as follows. 

%% %% 5Kij55irfijl ^ I 

^ ^ ’T 1^1^ ^ ??TeTT n 

® The queen fell down unconscious, but not dead. 

® The caption venba marked above this stanza seems out of place for these 
words are spoken by Kannaki to the queen who fell down in extreme sorrow. 

* Again Kannaki ’s utterance. 

® It is doubtful in the light of the expression whether the 

third stanza of the venba contains Kannaki ’s words. It seems to be the state- 
ment of the author, for Kannaki cannot speak of herself as 






Kannaki spoke thus to the Pandyan queen : 1-4 

‘O, Devi of the great king ! I am one pursued by 
cruel fate. Though by nature I am ignorant yet you 
will see that he who did harm to another in the forenoon 
will find himself harmed in the afternoon.’^ 

At midday a lady^ with abundant locks of hair called 5-6 
upon the vanni tree and the kitchen” to bear evidence 
to her chastity. 

When ,a woman with a wide, striped alk^d was told by J—io 
her companions that her husband was a figure of sand 
upon the banks of Ponni (Kaveri), she remained'‘ there 
without returning home even when the waves encircled 
her without ruining her husband’s image. 

The daughter of the celebrated king Karikala* followed 10—14 

^ See Kuf^alvetjbd 319 ; Perunkadai, st. 56. 1 . 259. 

® Kannaki narrates the legends of seven women of Puhar who had won 
a name for their exemplary chastity. 

^ This tradition is still current in Tiruppurampayam and Tirumaru-kal. 

The Lord enshrined at the former place goes by the name of Saksinatha- 
See Dr Swaminatha Aiyar’s note. A similar legend is recorded in what 
is known as SdnraJaitta Tiruvilaiyddal (st. 62) where the vanni tree, the God 
Siva and a well are cited as witnesses. 

^ The moment the woman, who was apparently a widow, heard from her 
companions that the sandy figure was that of her husband, she did not return 
home but stood firm in that place lest the figure should be destroyed by floods. 

Even today it is a custom among some classes for the chaste wife to go to 
the river bank, make an image of her husband in sand and after making 
offerings to it, to cast off the clothes she was wearing and to put on new 

^ See Kurunfogai^ st. 31 ; Aham.^ st. 45, 76, etc. The name of Karikala’s 
daughter was Adimandi, also Mandi, (Aham.) ; Tolk> Ahattinai, suti'a 54 

252 The Silappadikaram [XXI. 15 

the floods which carried away her husband, Vanjikkon,^ 
calling aloud : ‘O, my lover with hill-like shoulders ! ’ 
Then the sea itself came and presented her husband before 
her. She, the golden creeper, returned embracing him. 

15-17 There was the lady (in the form of a stone) who remain- 
ed in the park by the seashore looking at the approaching 
vessels. After the return of her husband, she cast off her 
form of stone. ^ 

18-19 There was another lady with lancelike eyes who, when 
her co-wife’s child had accidentally fallen into a well, 
dropped her child also into it and thus saved both the 

20-23 Seeing a stranger staring at her with lascivious eyes, a 
lady changed her full-moon face into that of a monkey. 
When her departed husband returned, that flower-soft 
lady, with pure gems on her alkul gave up her monkey- 

24-34 Last there was the lady, beautiful as a golden image, 
who overheard her mother speaking thus to her (the girl’s) 
father : ‘Without paying heed to the wise saying of the 
learned,® that a woman’s wisdom is fraught with folly, in 
the course of our play, I told my maid servant, “If I 
give birth to a daughter, and if you, O, maid of lustrous 

Naccinarkkiniyar’s gloss. She seems to be younger than Auvvaiyar, the great 
Sangam poetess. This shows that not only Tamil princes but princesses also 
were poets. Tamil women were highly learned. 

Also Attanatti or merely Atti. The incident referred to took place at 
Kalar on the banks of the Kaven. See Dr Swaminatha Aiyar's detailed note 
{Sila, Tamil ed., p. 488). 

® The fourth lady turned herself into a stone when her husband went 
overseas, but assumed her original form on his return. Though not a 
parallel, the Ahalya legend in the Rdmdyana of ValmikT affords a comparison 
Ahalya, once turned into a stone, assumed her original form at the touch of 

^ The fifth lady dropped her own child into the well after her co-wife’s 
child, when in her custody, had fallen into it. Then she started a hue and 
cry and with the help of her neighbours saved both children. She thus hoped 
to be above reproach. 

^ Assuming forms at will shows the force and power at the back of 
chastity, the virtue of virtues. 

5 Cf. Irai, ^utra 23. 

XXL 35] Vanjinamalai 253 

armlets, give birth to a son, he will be my daughter’s 
husband.” She has borne this in mind, and now demands 
their wedlock. I hear this with pain, my mind is much 
exercised. How unfortunate I am !’ At this, she who 
looked like a golden image (even before the proposal from 
her parents) dressed herself in a new silken robe, tied up 
the tresses of her hair, approaching the son (of the maid) 
prostrated herself before him, and bore his feet on her 
head P 

‘I was born in that city (Puhar) in which such great 35-38 
women of fragrant tresses^ were born. If these things 
happened truly, and if I am also a chaste lady, I shall not 
allow this city to flourish but will destroy it along with 
its sovereign. You will see the truth of this.’ 

(After speaking thus) she left that place and cried 39—42 
out : ‘O, men and women of Madura of the four temples 
(madam) 0 , gods in the heavens ! and O, ye saints ! 

Listen to me. I curse this capital of him who did wrong 
to my beloved husband. I am not to blame.’ 

Then she twisted off her left breast with her hand, and 43—52 
going round the city of Madura thrice making this vow, 
in deep anguish, she threw that beautiful breast whirling 
into the fragrant street. 'Before this illustrious lady who 
had made this vow, appeared the god of fire, with flames, in 
the form of a Brahmana, blue in hue, his tuft like the red 
sky, and with milk-white teeth, saying : ‘O, chaste lady !'‘ 

^ Having overheard the promise made by her mother to her maid-servant — 
before her birth — to give her to that maid’s son, she volunteered to marry 
him when the time came. 

“ See PattinattupiUaiydy Purdnam for a slightly changed version of the 
tale of seven women (Pumpuhar Sarukkam). 

® The four are named Tiruvfilavai, Tirunal.laru, Tirumudangai, Tiruna- 
duvur. .'Vccording to Naccinarkkhiniyar, Kali., st. q 2, the four are Kanni, Kari- 
yamal, Kali and Xiavai. See vShkr. (Tamil ed.), p. 490. It would appear that 
the name Kudal was derived from these four temples of which a description 
is given in Sambandar’s Tevdram. 

^ A description of the god of fire as he appeared before Kannaki. On 
the Agni cult there is an interesting contribution by Dr J. P. H. Vogel in 
Ind, dnL, December 1933. 

254 Tlie Silappadikaram [XXI. 53 

As I long ago received the order that I should destroy 
this city by fire on the day on which you would be cruelly 
wronged , who can escape death here ? ' ^ 

53'^57 The wrathful Kannaki then ordered : 'Spare^ Brahma- 
nas, the righteous'** , cows, chaste women, the aged and 
children, but go towards unrighteous people/ And the 
city of Kudal, belonging to the king of the mighty 
chariot/ was enveloped by fumes and flames. 


When the glorious Pandyan, his maidens, palaces, army 
with its shining bows, and elephants, were consumed by 
the fire of chastity, the immortal gods of that unfortunate 
city went out of sight because of their great purity. 

^ This means that Agni asked Kannaki who should be spared. 

® This shows that the slaughter of innocents was not countenanced 
at any stage or in any manner. It is interesting that Brahmanas wei'e 
exempted, surely having evoked respect for their learning and character. 
These must have been the Srdtriyas often mentioned in Sanskrit epics and law- 
books. See Dikshitar, Hindu Administrative Institutions^ pp. 187-9. 

® This shows that members of other castes who were wedded to 
svadharma were also spared. 

^ The Pandyan was noted for his chariot force. 

^ This venba, says the editor of the text, is not found in certain manuscripts. 





('In Madura) the burning mouth of the messenger god i— 15 
(Agni)^ opened itself. The guardian deities^ closed their 
doors.® In order to prove to Mother Earth that his 
rule was righteous, Seliyan, the warrior king of kings, gave 
up his very life on account of the dishonour caused by his 
bent sceptre. ‘‘ Not knowing that the king was dead on his 
throne® along with his queen of untarnished chastity, the 
purdhita,'^ the astrologer, the Brahmana judges, the finan- 
cier (Kavidi),’^ and the learned ministers, attended by the 

^ The god Agni is ministering to the wants of the Devas. Hence the 
epithet Devaduta in Vedic Jiterature. The rationale of all religious offerings 
to Agni is that he takes them to the respective gods and pitrs to whom such 
havis were intended, 

® Among the guardian deities of the city are mentioned the four caste- 
butams ; — the Brahniana-butam, the Ksatriya-butain, the Vaisya-butam and 
the Velan-butam. This proves that the social polity Varnasramadharma 
had come to this part of India at a much earlier period. It may be noted 
that different colours — white, red, brown and black — are assigned to these res- 
pective varnas showing that once the division of communities was according 
to colour. 

3 ‘That they closed their doors’ means ‘that' they gave up their legitimate 
function of defending the four gates of the city walls’. 

^ The poet skilfully weaves beautiful ideas into the text. When the 
straight sceptre hung its head, it seemed to give a message to the king’s 
mind that unless lie sacrificed himself it would not come back to its original 
pristine straightness ol justice. The rapid march of ideas — the rod of justice 
bending, the king dying, and the rod attaining its original form — is all vividly 

® Araisukortfil is the term used in the text for the throne. 

® The executive officers of the king are mentioned. The piirohita is 
mentioned first showing the high dignity which was attached to his office. For 
the pUice of the purdhita^ in the scheme of ancient Indian polity, see Dikshitar, 

Hindu Admin. InsUfutionSj ch. iii, sec. 2, 

’’ Kavidi is perhaps the technical term for the Superintendent of Finance. 

For different meanings of the expression see the Tamil Lexicon, p. 903. 

256 The Silappadikaram [XXTI. 16 

palace-servants, and maid-attendants, stood speechless like 
a group in a painted pictured (At that time) the elephant- 
riders,^ cavalrymen, charioteers, and the Marava'* soldiers 
with terrible swords, were bewildered by the fire at the 
victorious gate of the king's palace, and were permitted to 

16-36 The presiding deity of the Adibutam,‘ [whose body 
shedding its cool and lustrous rays like a cluster of pearls, 
was white .as the moon, wore a brilliant pearl neck- 
lace along with other ornaments, and had on his shining 
tuft a wreath of white lotus, aruhai, nandi and other 
flowers. He was robed in the purest white, thin silk, not 
yet dry, and his breast w'as painted with paste made from 
the unblossomed vaUihai, the bright dust of vannikai 
(sandal) and hottam. He consumed heartily the sacrificial 
smoke, caused by the pouring of honey, milk and 
jaggery (into the fire),® and moved in the forenoon 
from the bathing ghats and the temple of the gods, to 
halls of Vedic chanting.® He would stand on his feet 
at midday and go to his home in the afternoon, holding 
in his hands an unfolded umbrella, a staff, a water -bowl, 
a fire-stick, and inseparable kusa grass, with the Vedas on 
his tongue and his sacred thread on his breast] without 
deviating from the established procedure, would kindle 

^ This is an indication of the flourishing state of painting in the early 
centuries ot the Christian era. 

^ The traditional fourfold forces are given. The fourfold army had come 
to stay in the Tamil land. 

® The term Marava may mean a hardy warrior. 

* A full description of the Vedic Brahmana and his outfit. The Brahmana- 
biitam was an ideal e.xample for the members of that community to copy 
and follow. The description is told twice in certain particulars. Lines 
16-33 found in certain manuscripts and from the redundant nature of 

the description, they can be taken a* interpolations. 

® The havis olTerings consisted of honey, milk, curds, and ghee. 

® These are evidently pataidlas, the institutions in modern times, for 
teaching the Vedas. 

The fire-stick is a twig of the sacred fig tree, called samit in Sanskrit 

XXII. 37] Alarpatukadai 257 

the three fires^ with the sacrificial utensils as ordained b}?' 

Next was the great deity of the Ksatriya-butam,^ 37~6i 
[whose body was the colour of the red rays of the sun, 
and who wore among jewels set with spotless gems, other 
ornaments like the diadem (worn by a king). He decked 
his tuft with a wreath of campdka, karuvilai, red kudd- 
lam and cool and sweet water-plants, jdti and other flowers. 

He wore garlands strung with choice flowers and other 
ornamentations. He had rings on all ten fingers of his 
hands,® and his broad breast was of kumkumam colour. 

He wore around his waist a soft brilliant-red silk, and he 
consumed the hot preparation of sdli rice brought to him in 
a gold vessel, besides other agreeable sweetmeats]]. His 
body had the sparkling brilliance of coral, and he ruled 
the sea-girt world, holding in his hands the murasu, white 
umbrella, feather-fan, tall flag,^ the famous ankusa, a 
steel spear and a binding rope of steel. He drove away 
countless kings of great fame, and capturing the whole 
earth,® he ruled righteously, punishing evil-doers, and 
protected the world like Nediydn himself with great and 
growing fame. 

Then came the great deity of the illustrious Vaisya- 62-88 

^ The three fires are the gdrhapatya^ dhavanlya and daksindgni, wor* 
shipped by Agnihdtrins, a practice that continues today in Tamil districts. 

^ The outfit of the Ksatriya-butam. Lines 37-50 also are interpola- 
tions giving a description more or less as is found in the lines following. 
To wear a tuft was the accepted custom of the day for all communities. 

® The term anjumakan is vague but has been interpreted as meaning 
‘one having rings on all five fingers.’ No light is forthcoming from the com- 
mentary. The line may be interpreted as ‘ he who wore rings on his fingers 
emitting rays of light ’ (anfu), 

* The chief characteristics (laksana) and deeds of the Pandyan have been 
attributed to the Ksatriya-butam. 

* Reference here is perhaps to Krsna helping the Pandava Arjuna against 
his enemy Duryodhana. The Arumpadavurai interprets dlvdn as Arjuna in 
1. 52 and mannar as Duryodhana and others in 1. 56. 


25S The Silappadikaram [XXII. 89 

butam^ with his body the lustrous colour of pure gold, 
wearing every ornament except the diadem worn by cele- 
brated monarchs of the strong spear, catering for the 
vast world as befits a member of the merchant community 
and bearing in his hands the ploughshare and the balance. 
[His cloth was of the much praised golden colour. In his 
tuft was a wreath linked together with flowers of vetci, 
talai, honey-laden dmhal, sedal, neydal, pulai and marudam. 
On his lightning-like breast was sandal paste of a brilliant 
colour shining like burnished gold. He would give and 
accept food well mixed with gram, peas, dhal, black gram, 
and several other green grains. It was he who enjoyed 
his meal before noon with water in his hand and frequent- 
ed granaries where paddy was stored, fields full of birds, 
merchants’ shops and shady kdnci trees. 

Holding the plough, the weighing balance needed in 
bazaars, the tdl^ of enveloping brilliance, and the yal, he 
would favour (people) with abundance of produce and 
entertain guests. He would also sell to those who needed 
them rare articles brought from mountains and seas.]® 
He assumed the form of a chieftain pursuing the harmless 
agricultural life"^ and resembled ^iva wearing a young 
crescent in his resplendent coiffure. 

89—102 There also appeared the chief of the (Velala) Velan- 
butams,® who received sacrificial offerings in noisy Madura, 

^ The outht of the Vai^ya-butam is furnished. The ploughshare and 
the balance are the symbols of the duties of Vai^yas and represent the 
IhuvaUyan and dhanavmsyan into which the whole community was divided. 
The Vaisyas could give gifts and receive gifts in their turn. Lines 67-84 
also are interpolations and repeat more or less the same description of the 

® Tdl is another vague term and has been taken to mean Mamp- 

^ This shows that the Vai^yas had sea-borne trade as well as caravan- 

* The Vai^ya chief was the lord of the agricultural tracts. He is 
likened to 5 iva. 

^ The outfit of the Velan-butam. Lines 89-96 are interpolations being a 
repetition of the butam ’$ description. 


XXII. 103] Alarpatukadai 

(who was the colour of the kamvihi flower with decorative 
ornaments of gold and silver, w’'ho wore lustrous kalakam, 
whose broad breast was painted with the dried paste of 
fragrant aJiil, who wore in his tuft a wreath of flowers 
grown on the branches of trees, creepers, water-plants 
and others, who held a plough^ made by expert black- 
smiths, and who had attained praiseworthy prestige), 
whose body was like a cleaned sapphire, who had a dress 
made of the bright kdakam, and who had the technique 
needed for dancing and was versed in the different modes 
of singing.^ 

(These four butams) said : ‘Since we know beforehand 103-108 
that this city is to be consumed by fire on the day on which 
the king’s justice fails, and since we know that this is just, 
it is proper that we should go away from here.’ All these 
four guardian deities deserted their respective quarters 
even before the heroic woman plucked off her breast. 

Then the street of grain-dealers, the car street decora- 109-111 
ted with festoons, and the four streets occupied respective- 
ly by men of the four castes, began to be agitated 
as on the day when the Kandavanam® blazed forth [set on 
fire by the reliant (Arjuna) of the powerful monkey- 

The flames did not go near the residences of the right- 112-118 
eous though they blazed among the dwellings of the 
unrighteous. Unaffected by the fire, cows and calves 
reached the broad streets of the pious cowherds.® Strong 

^ The plough was common to the Velala and the Vai^ya. The latter had 
the balance as well. 

^ It transpires that the Velalas had their own rural amusements of sing- 
ing and dancing so as to relieve the monotony of their agricultural occupation. 

®The reference is to the burning of the Kandavanam. For a description 
of it, see the Mahdhhdrata. 

* This flag signified the leadership of Arjuna. It may be noted that 
1. Ill is not found in certain manuscripts. 

® Followers of dharma as well as the animal kingdom were left untouched 
by fire. Similarly chaste women and innocent children were spared. It was by 
no means a slaughter of innocents. 

26 o 

The Silappadikaram [XXII. iig 

and fierce male elephants and herds of female elephants 
and fleet steeds ran away outside the city walls. 

1 19-127 (In that city) there were women^ lying unconscious in 
their soft, smooth widespread beds under the spell of love 
and wine in the company of their husbands. Their beau- 
teous young breasts were painted with unguents, their 
eyes were darkened with collyrium and their hair was 
adorned with wreaths of fragrant, honey-laden, gaping 
buds filling the air with perfume. From these alighted 
pollen on to their breasts painted with kumkumam and 
decorated with pearl necklaces. 

128-132 Other women, with yellow spotted alkuls and fragrant 
tresses, whose lisping children with rosy mouths and 
toddling gait came in the company of grey-haired women, 
awoke from sleep on cotton mattresses. 

123-137 The matrons who unfailingly attended to household 
duties and entertained guests, rejoiced greatly. They wor- 
shipped and praised the fire-god, whose flames rose high, 
saying : ‘ Losing her husband, whose chest shone with 
a beautiful garland, this lady won her victory with her 
anklet. Is this war waged by her breast unjust?® ‘Not 

In the far-famed street of the songstresses,® trained in 
the sixty-four arts,^ where could be heard the reverbera- 
tions of the mr dan gam, the. sweet subdued flute, and 
the vibration of the singing yal produced by variations in 
tone, the dancing-girls who lost their theatre, burst out : 
‘Where does this woman come from? Whose daughter 

1 Two kinds of household women are distinguished. The women described 
in 11. rig-27 are those who have not yet given birth to children. 
The women described in II. 128-32 are those who have children. Besides these 
there were old women, as the reference to grey hairs indicates. 

^ Here is a justification by the chaste women of Madura of the action of 
Kannaki and of her curse. It is said that they prostrated themselves before 
the blazing fire as an act of religious duty, 

® Here is a reference to the public theatre of the city which was consumed 
by the conflagration. 

* See above, p. 206, n. 3. 

26 i 

XXII. 147] Alarpatukadai 

is she? Wonder it is that one single woman who had lost 
her husband, could vanquish the inconsiderate king with 
her anklet, and finally set fire to this city/ 

Seeing the great city had lost its evening festivals,^ 147-157 
the chanting of the Vedas {dranam), the kindling of sacri- 
ficial fires, the worship of gods, the lighting of domestic 
lamps, the healthful repose of nightfall, and the resound- 
ing notes of the murasam, and because it was unable to 
bear the thrust of the blazing flame, the goddess Madura- 
pati appeared before the sorely oppressed heroic wife, who, 
pained at heart by the decease of her beloved husband, 
heaved a deep sigh (which shook her frame), and roamed 
aimlessly through the streets and lanes^ in a state of 
agitation, partly struggling hard to walk and partly 
bewildered and unconscious, 


The goddess known as MadurapatP came before her 
who had wrung off her fierce young breast, and whose 
victory^ equalled that of the Goddess of Wealth,^ the 
Goddess of Learning,® and the great Goddess” who killed 
and stood upon the demon Mahisasura. 

1 Stbali offered usually at evening. Other features were Vedic chanting 
and prayers to saerificial fires and at temples. 

® The term used for lanes is havalai. 

® Madurapati was the family-deity of the Pandyan king. Every reigning 
Hindu king, ancient or modern, has his own kuladevata. In the Raghu- 
roamid Kalidasa says that after Rama’s death the family-deity of AySdhya 
appeared at midnight to Ku^a, son and successor. Today Padmanabliasvami 
is the family deity of Travancore kings, and Camundi of Mysore Rajas. 

^ Kannaki’s signal victory over the Madura king was tantamount to all 
the victories of the three goddesses put together. 

^ LaksmL 

® Sarasvati. 

^ Uma in the form of Mahisasuramardanl. 





-20 With her head decorated with a crescent and her matted 
locks, kuv alai-likc eyes, white radiant face, coral -mouth 
revealing her teeth, with the left half of her body 
dark blue, and the right half golden, with a golden lotus 
in her left hand, and a glittering and terrifying sword in her 
right, with a victorious kalal on her right leg, and a match- 
less jingling anklet on her left, Madurapati,^ the family 
deity of the chief — who ruled the cool harbour of Korkai^ 
and Kumari port, whose northern limit was the golden 
Himalayas® and who was lord of Podiyil — unwilling to 
face the graceful but sorrow-stricken woman, the heroic 
wife who, highly perturbed, had plucked out one of her 
breasts, went behind her"^ and said : ‘Blessed lady ! Canst 
thou listen to my complaint?’ Whereupon, the woman 

^ A description of the form of the presiding deity of the city of Madura. 
This is in agreement with the idea in Sanskrit legends that every great capital 
of ancient times had its own guardian deity who was in charge of the 
city. We hear in the Rdmdyana of the presiding deity of Lanka, appearing 
before Hanuman, the monkey ambassador of Sugriva. 

® Korkai and Kumari were the ports of the Pandyas. Here the poet 
refers to the Fandyan as chief of the maritime tracts while in the next line 
he describes him as chief of the hill tribes. This is one way of extolling 
his name and fame. 

® This does not necessarily mean that the Pandyan kingdom extended 
on the north as far as the Himalayas. It demonstrates however that the 
prowess of Pandyan arms had been felt by the ruling princes of northern India 
whose northern limit was the Himalayas. This is in keeping with the state- 
ment of Ariyappataikadanda Ne^tihjeliyan occurring in the katturai towards the 
end of ‘Maduraikkandam’- A short poem is ascribed to him {Puram., st. 183). 

The poet graphically describes how the Goddess of Madura approached 
the Lady of Chastity, giving us the impression that she thought herself 
inferior to Kannaki. She therefore appeared from behind and made an 
appeal to her to give a patient hearing to her words, 


XXIIL 21 ] 


with the grief-stricken face, turned to her right and asked : 

‘Who art thou following me from behind? Art thou 
aware of my deep pain?’ 

Madurapati replied ; ‘Yes, I am aware of thy great 21-30 
suffering, O faultless lady ! I am the tutelary deity of 
the vast city of Kudal. I wish to speak a word. I am 
much concerned at the fate of thy husband. Lady of 
golden bracelets, listen. O listen to a word of mine, 
noble lady ! Wilt thou not pay heed, O friend, to the 
lamentable disease causing anguish to my mind? Hear, 
my dear, the fruits of our kings’ deeds in their previous 
births.^ Listen also to the account of your husband’s past 
deeds resulting in this present misery. 

‘My ears have heard only the sound of Vedic chanting^ 31-40 
but have never heard the sound of the bell (clamouring for 
justice).® Except for the slander of kings who pay their 
tributes by prostrating themselves before our monarch, his 
sceptre has never incurred the displeasure of his subjects.^ 
Moreover though fair-faced girls cast shy looks towards 
him forcing the passion of his powerful heart beyond the 
control of his intellect®, as the young elephant runs 
wild uncontrolled by a trained rider, yet this is no stain 
to kings born in this noble family associated with high 

^ The theory of belief in past karma is once again stressed. 

® The deafening chanting of the Vedic Brahmanas in every corner of the 
city. Cf. Maduratkkdnji, 1. 656- 

® The bell of justice, also called drdiccimani. Tradition affirms that every 
palace had such a bell in front of it, for the use of people and even animals 
whenever injustice was done to them by the State, so as to bring it to the 
king’s notice. The Goddess of Madura says that she had never heard the 
sound of that bell, implying that there had never been a breach of justice 
in the State to her knowledge, and that this was the first time that injustice 
had been done. 

^ Protection of his subjects is the supreme duty of the king. This is 
also the prescription of all nUi treatises in Sanskrit. (See also Pur am. ^ st. 72. 
Cf. 1. 34 with 11. 76-7 of ‘Valakkuraikadai’, canto xx.) 

® The weakness of the Pandyan who lacked control over his senses 
Is brought out, but this was never attended by injustice of any sort. 

264 The Silappadikaram [XXIIL 41 

4 I ~54 ‘Hast thou not heard that a Pandyan king, whose 
hand had broken the golden crown and the glittering 
bracelets of the king of gods wielding the thunderbolt, 
knocked one day at the door-less house^ of Kirandai, whose 
life was valueless (to others), and overheard his ( Kiran- 
dai’ s) wife telling her husband : “You departed for a distant 
place, and left me in this manram saying that no fence was 
stronger than the protection of our monarch. Has that 
fence ceased to protect us today?’’ Instantly the king 
closed his ears, as if pierced by a red-hot smoking nail. 
He quaked with fear as his heart burnt within him, and he 
cut off his hand® in order to maintain a righteous sceptre 
without any slur. There is, therefore, no blot on those 
born in this royal family. Hear, again, the truth of the 

55-70 ‘When a king of this dynasty, a wielder of the polished 
spear, who had richly fed (the combatants in the Maha- 
bharata w,ar) had secured peace, he held a great durbar.® 
An able Brahmana, Parasara, who belonged to the good and 
fertile kingdom of the Lord of highly reputed Puhar wield- 
ing a righteous sceptre and a triumphant sword — one of 
whose kings weighed (his flesh) to save a dove,^ and 
another awarded justice to a cow® — ^^and who had heard of 
the peerless munificence of the Cera of the curved lance, 

^ This statement agrees with that noted by Megasthenes in his Indiha 

that there were no thieves in the land and that the people slept with their 

doors open. 

^ Cf. Sila.^ padikam ; also Palamoli^ st. 102. The commentators on the 
Tolkdppiyam refer to this incident. 

® This may also refer to an assembly of State when there was an army 
review including a feast in honour of the army. This practice is evident from 
the KaUngattupparani^ and the technical term for this is ndlolakkain and here 
it is termed perundlirtikkai. Hence it may be a reference to the Pandyan 
king. There are others who find here a reference to a certain Cera king 

Udiyanceral (see below, ‘U^alvari’, st. 29 ; also Puiam.^ st. 2, .47za/7^., st. 233}. 

Several references go to strengthen the tradition that a Cera took an active part 
in the Mahabharata war. 

* This reference is to Sibi ; see above, p. 248, n. 4. 

® This reference is to Manunitikanda Cojan ; see above, p. 249, n. j. 


XXIII. 71] 


by offering the heavens’’ to a Tamil Brahmana poet, said to 
himself : “I shall see this Cera of great valour and long 
lance.” He then passed through jungles and country 
places and towns leaving behind him the tall Malaya hills.’’ 71-84 
There, by the force of his dialectical skill,’’ which he had 
acquired in the traditional manner, from the twice-born 
Brahmana — who with the thought of achieving oneness with 
the infinite* kindled the threefold fires® as ordained in the 
four Vedas and performed the five great sacrifices® and 
the six great duties^ — ^he defeated his rivals and earned 
the title of parpanavdhai.^ As he was returning home with 
great and valuable gifts, he reached the village of Tangal® 
of the righteous Pandyan and of dharmaic Brahmanas. In 
this village, on a platform beneath a Bodi tree,’® luxuriant 
with green leaves, the tired man stayed awhile with 

^ Palaigautamanar. Cf. Padirru, Third Ten, colophon. The Cera is 
Palyanaicelkelukuttnvan, younger brother of Imayavaramban. The legend 
goes that Gautamanar, a Brahmana and a Tamil poet, performed ten sacrifices 
(yajnas) and in the course of the tenth, the Brahmana and his lady disappeared 
by going to heaven. In its accomplishment Kelukuttuvan helped him (see 
below, canto xxviii, 11 . 137-8 ; also Aham.y st. 233). 

® The Malaya hills are the Podiyil of Tamil literature. 

® An expert in the science of tarka, 

* Desirous of moksa or salvation so as to be liberated from the trammels 
of samsdra, 

® Gdrhapatya, dhavamya and daksindgni. 

® Pancamahdyajna, or pancayajna as it is called. It is incumbent on 
the members of the twice-born classes to perform these every day. 

^ The six duties are learning and teaching, performing sacrifices and 
having sacrifices performed, giving and receiving gifts. See Hindu 
trative Institutions, p. 188. 

® It is a theme which describes the greatness a learned Brahmana 
attained through the performance of sacrifices. (See Pura.y Venldmdlai, 
‘ Vahai.’, st. 9.) But here it is the conferment of a distinction by a king on 
one who conies out successfully in debates with equally learned men. The 
reference is to the branch of a tree worn to indicate literary powers. 

® Identified with Tiruttangal near Sivakasi railway station. The 
Brahmanas of this village are termed Fancagramikal by the commentator. 
Apparently they were one among the many local Brahmana communities. 

The reference is to the sacred asvattha tree which was also the Buddhist 
Bodi tree. Cf. Pdmd-, Bk. II, ch. Ixviii, st. 17 where Bodhibhavana ii? 


The Silappadikaram [XXIII. 85 

his staff/ water-bowl, white umbrella, fire-stick, a small 
bundle of articles and slippers, and said : “Long live the 
victor whose protecting white umbrella assures his certain 
success. Long live the protector who uprooted the 
kadambiL^ from the sea ! Long live the king who engraved 
his bow on the Himalayas ! Long live the Poraiyan®, 
possessor of the beautiful and cool Porunai ! Long live 
K ing M andar an-C eral ! ” ^ 

85-98 ‘Surrounded by a group of playful youths, some with 
curly hair and some with tufts and some with lisping mouths 
and coral lips, toddling some distance from their homes, 
he addressed them : “Young Brahmana boys, if you can 
recite the Veda after me, you may go away taking this 
little bundle of jewels.”® Then the son of the famous 
Brahmana Varttikan, by name Alamarselvan (Daksina- 
murti) whose rose lips still retained the fragrance of his 
mother’s milk, in the presence of his playmates, with 
prattling tongue and great inward pleasure, recited 
the Veda, faultlessly observing the correct rhythm. 
The elderly man was exceedingly pleased with young 
Dakkinan and presented him with a sacred thread of 
pearls and bright jewels, as well as with bangles and ear- 
rings before he departed for his native place. 

ig_i22 ‘But the sentinels (of the locality) jealous of Varttikan 
because his child had been beautified and decorated with 
fine ornaments, accused him saying : “This Brahmana has 

^The impedimenta of an orthodox Brahmana. Kundikai may answer to 
what we call ]dri still used by orthodox Brahmanas. Kdttam (kdstha) are 
twigs of the sacred pipal used for hams in the fire. 

^ See below, canto xxviii, 11, 135-6. 

® Poraiyan was a title of the Cera kings. 

^ Perhaps another name of Palyanaicelkelukuttuvan. He was a contem- 
porary ruler and chief of Kuttanadu while Senguttuvan was reigning in 
Vafiji. — 

^ The Brahmana ’s love for the Veda and his magnanimity in giving away 
valuable jewels to a child reciting it accox'ding to established practice show 
how unselfi!$h were the learned Brahmanas of those golden days. 

XXIII. 123] Katturaikadai 267 

misappropriated treasure-trove^ which belongs legitimately 
to the king.” They then threw him into prison. 
Karttikai, the wife of Varttikan, grew frantic. She 
wept in grief. She threw herself on to the ground rolling 
and fulminating. Seeing this, the goddess Durga of 
untarnished glory refused to open the door of her temple 
for the conduct of daily worship. When the king of the 
mighty spear heard that the massive door remained shut 
and would not open, he was confounded, and inquired : 

”Has any injustice been donei*^ Come and tell me if 
you have heard of any failure in the discharge of our duties 
to the Goddess of Victory.” Then his young messengers 
made obeisance to the protecting king and informed him of 
the case of Varttikan. “This is not fair”, burst forth the 
king in anger and addressed Varttikan : ‘Tt is your duty to 
forgive me. My righteous rule still has life, though, 
owing to the ignorance of my men, it has deviated from 
the ordained path.” The king granted® him Tangal with 
its paddy fields watered by tanks, and Vayalur of im- 
measurable yield, and prostrated himselT on the ground 
before Varttikan the husband of Karttikai, and in part 
appeased the unappeasable wrath of the latter. 

‘Then the door (of the shrine) of the Goddess who 123-125 
rode upon the stag, opened so loudly as to be heard 
throughout the long and broad streets of mountain-liko 
mansions of that ancient city. 

^ Ail treasure-trove went of right to the king and misappropriation was 
severely punished. 

^ This shows the religious mind of the king and his fear of the obloquy 
of wielding an unrighteous sceptre. 

^ Both Tangal and the adjoining village of V’ayalur were granted as a 
hrahmadeya village by the king in order to appease the wrath of the Brahmana 
and his lady. 

^ Literally : ‘showed his chest to the damsel of this vast world.’ The 
commentator says that so far the king had not prostrated himself and hence the 
earth was raging with heat. But, now, that heat subsided a little. However the 
term aval may refer to Karttikai and may mean her rage (which at the mis- 
carriage of justice to her husband would not fully subside) subsided a little. 

268 The Silappadikaram [XXIII. 126 

126-131 ‘At that time, the triumphant king issued the following 
proclamation by beating a drum placed upon the back of 
an elephant which was sent throughout the city “Release 
all prisoners from the prison. Remit all taxes from those 
who owe them. Let all who find unclaimed things and 
discover treasure-trove enjoy them.” 

1 32-137 ‘Listen how even such a king committed this act of 
injustice. There was a prediction that, in the month of 
Adi, on the tithi of Astami, in the dark fortnight, on a 
Friday,® with Kdrttikai and Barani (in the ascendent),® a 
great fire would envelop renowned Madura to the ruin of 
its king. (That has come to pass now.) 

138-151 ‘Hear again, O lady of glittering bangles ! The kings 
of mighty spears, Vasu and Kumara, who ruled in an 
exemplary manner with their armies, over the good king- 
dom of Kalinga encircled by a thick grove, at Singa- 
puram^ with its fair and fertile fields, and at Kapilapuram 
with its bamboo forests, became enemies, being agnates, 
though born in an ancient family of undying prosperity. 
And to a distance of six kdvadams^ all round, owing to 
their war, none could penetrate that region. Then a 
merchant, Sangaman by name, ambitious to increase his 
wealth, came with his wife, like people escaping unnoticed, 
bearing a great bundle on his head and began to dispose of 
his valuable wares in a bazaar of ^ingapuram of undimi- 
nished glory. 

^ A general amnesty and remission of taxes ; even treasure-trove 
became the property of the finder. The state relinquished its rights voluntarily. 
What affected a certain individual became a general law. C£. Kurahenha, 

® The mention of the weekday (Friday) has made some scholars draw the 
conclusion that the epic Silappadikaram must be a later composition on the ground 
that weekdays were unknown to India until the fourth century a.d. But this 
is arguing from one unknown to another unknown. 

^ AlaUefkuttam is Kdrttikai and Barani (see Puram,^ st. 229). 

^ Simhapuram .and Kapilapuram were cities of the ancient kingdom of 
Kalinga. Vasu and Kumara, agnates, ruled over them. See Intro., p. 34. 

^ The battlefield extended to a distance of six kddams all roundt 

XXIII . 152] Katturaikadai 269 

‘O lady of gold bangles! Your husband, Kovalan, 152-169 
in his previous birth was called Barata,^ and being in the 
service of this valorous monarch, had in disgust given up 
the vow (of non-killing).^ He mistook (^angaman) for 
a spy,^ captured him, brought him to the presence of the 
king of the conquering spear and beheaded him. Nili, 
the wife of the murdered Sangaman, finding that she had 
no resting-place, wandered about the streets and court- 
yards, and created a commotion proclaiming : “O king, is 
this your justice.? O Vaisyas, is this justice.? O com- 
moners, is this justice.? O residents of this place, is this 
right?” She raved thus for fourteen days, and exhilarated 
by the thought that that was a sacred day she ascended a 
cliff in order to rejoin her murdered husband in heaven, 
and fell down cursing^ thus : 

“He who has inflicted this injury upon us shall be 
overtaken by the same fate.” 

‘That unerring curse has now descended upon thee.® 

‘This is my explanation. Please listen. When 170-178 
actions in a past birth by those devoid of goodness yield 
their results, no (amount of) penance can stop them. O 
lady of abundant tresses of hair, after fourteen days® 
thou shalt see thy wedded lover in the form of a celestial 
being, but never more in his earthly form.’ When she 
had finished explaining these things in the proper manner 
to the lady of chastity, the Goddess of Madura liberated 
the city from the conflagration. 

^ Sans.j Bharata. 

^ Ahimsd or non-injury to any living creature. 

^ This shows that the spy system was widely prevalent. For a study 
of this institution see the Kautaliya Arthasdstra. 

* Nili’s curse and its effect upon Kovalan in this birth. See Mani,, 
‘Vahjimanagarpukkakadai’, 11. 5*34, for this curse. 

* No amount of dharma in the present birth can stop the laws of pre- 
ordained fate. The actions of a previous birth yield their fruit in the next 
birth and, according to one theory, for several continued births if they be of 
a heinous nature. 

® See Sila., fadikam^ 11. 50-3. 

270 The Silappadikaram [XXIII. 179 

1 79- 1 93 Kannaki then said : ‘I will not sit nor shall I stand till 
I see the husband of my heart’ ; and she broke her gold 
bangles at the temple of Korravai/ and once again cried ; 
‘I entered this city with my husband by the eastern 
gate. Alas ! I am now going out alone through the 
western gate.’ Unconscious of day or night, she went 
helpless along one side of the flooded Vaigai. Dejected 
and sad, little thinking whether she was descending into 
a pit or ascending a cliff, she climbed step by step up the 
hill sacred to Neduve},^ the bearer of the long fiery lance, 
which tore out the bowels of the sea,* cut out the heart of 
the mountain, * and vanquished Asuras ; and there, under 
the shade of a flowery vengai grove, she pined saying : 
‘Alas, I am a great sinner.’ 

194-200 When fourteen days had thus passed, the king of 
gods,* who with celestials regarded that day as fit for 
worship, praised the great name of this famous woman, 
showered unfading flowers upon her and revered her. In 
a divine chariot at the side of Kovalan, murdered in the 
king’s city, Kannaki with the forest-like hair went up to 

^ Breaking the bangles was a custom in vogue in ancient times. Im- 
mediately after her husband’s death, the wife broke her bangles, this being the 
first sign of her widowhood. Kannaki did this before the Durga temple. 
It is interesting that this custom still prevails among certain communities in 
Southern India. 

2 .'\rumpadavuraia4iriyar identifies this with Tiruccengodu, which is not 
probable. Personal inquiry about any local tradition of a Kannaki temple 
there proved fruitless. This hill must therefore be one which was at a dis- 
tance of fourteen days’ walk from Madura to the west. To venture a con- 
jecture it may be the Paini range containing a sacred shrine of Subrahmanya. 

® A reference to the vanquishing by the war-god of the A sura hiding 
in the sea. This tradition still exists in association with the Subrahmanya 
shrine at Tirruccendur in Tinnevelly district. The story runs that after’ van- 
quishing the Asura^ Subrahmanya departed for Tirupparankunram in Madura 
district where he married Devay.anT, the daughter of Indra. 

^ This refers to the piercing of the Krauhca hill. 

® It is said that Indra in person took her to Heaven — a rare honour 
reserved only for women of chastity. 



27 ^ 


Because it is a fact that gods will worship her who 
worships not God but worships her husband/ Kannaki, 
that jewel among the women of the earth, became a goddess 
and the guest of the ladies of heaven. 


Thus ends the Maduraikkandam which describes the 
virtues, victories, and heroism of the dynasty of the 
Pandyas, who held the distinguished spear in their hands 
among the dynasties of the three crowned monarchs. It 
also describes the great glory attached to their ancient and 
famous capital, the richness of their festivals, the approach 
of the gods to the city, the unfailing happiness of the 
village communities, the abundance of their rich foodstuffs, 
the fertility yielded by the great Vaigai river, the never- 
failing fresh showers supplied by the rain-bearing clouds, 
the two viruttis called drapati^ and sattuvadi,^ and the songs 
and dances in which these were exhibited. These and 
many other things, illustrative of the unmatched rule of 
righteousness of the Pandyan Nedunjeliyan,'* who van- 

^ Cf. Kuralvenba, 55. 

^ irapati (Arabhati) — ‘a kind of drama having for its topic the acquisition 
of wealth and centering round the achievements of great warriors as heroes, 
one of the four natakavirutiis’ {Tamil Lexicon, p. 242). See also Sh’a., canto iii, 
1. 13, comment. 

^ Sdttuvadi (sdtvati) — ‘a variety of dramatic composition which has a 
semi-divine being for hero and treats of virtue, one of the four ndtakaviruttis^ 
(ibid., p. 1362). 

^ This Pandyan king who was a contemporary of Ceran Senguttuvan 
is called Araisu-kattiliruhjiya Pandya-Neduhjeliyan. We have other kings 
whose names were prefixed by Pandyan Ilavantikaippallitunjiya Nanmaran, 
Pandyan Cittiramatattutuiljiya Nanmaran, etc. The term ‘tunjiya’ in these 
contexts means, simply, ‘dead’. In order to distinguish the one name from the 
other it was probably then a tradition to prefix to each king’s name the 
place where he died. It is said that the Samudiri dynasty ruling at Calicut 
continues this custom of naming themselves. See Puiandnuru, p. 581 n. 


The Silappadikaram [XXIII 

quished the army o£ the northern Aryas, and established 
peace in the southern Tamil country, and who again slept 
eternal sleep seated on the throne with his queen of fault- 
less chastity, are described. 




Canto XXIV 





The hill-maidens spoke thus : ‘We came to the hillside to i“9 
scare away little birds and drive off parrots, to sport in 
the waterfalls and plunge into springs and while 
wandering about with no other concern, we saw a lady and 
asked her ; “O lady, who lookest like Valli, who art thou 
that standest in the shade of the fragrant mountain tree, 
vengai, after losing thy breast and breaking our hearts?” 
(Kannaki) coolly replied : ‘‘I am she whose cruel destiny 
it was to lose her husband on that evil day when ever-joyous 
Madura and its king were fated to be ruined.” Hearing 
this, the hill-maidens were struck with awe and worshipped 
her with their bangled hands uplifted, and the gods shower- 
ed flowers like copious rain.’ 

The maidens continued : Tn our presence and in that lo- 
of other hillfolk she was taken to Heaven by the gods 
with her husband. There is no deity like her for our com- 
munity, O people of small hamlets O people of small 
hamlets ! Let us acclaim this lady as our Goddess, O people 
of small hamlets ! Under the cool shade of the vengcd 
whose odorous flower-buds (grow) on the slopes of the 
hill with enchanting waterfalls, acclaim this deity, O people 

^ Here we are introduced to the daily life of the hill-men and women. 

They were devotees of Murugan, the god of the kurihji region. Valli is the 
consort of this god. 

® Sirukudi as opposed to Perumkudi. This indicates that their residences 
were simple in character. 

276 The Silappadikaram [XXIV 

of small hamlets ! Play upon the tondakani,^ beat the little 
drum, blow the horn, and ring the noisy bell, sing the 
kurinji,~ offer spicy incense, perform the sacrifice of 
flowers, and erect the surrounding wall with its door, hymn 
songs of praise and scatter flowers — all in honour of this 
lady who has lost one of her breasts — so that the great 
hill may, without diminution, flourish in plenty. 


Then began the song. (The maid said to the lady) 

‘Dear girl of beautiful ornaments ! You will not see 
anything there, (come and) see what is here. The moun- 
tain-stream comes bubbling along, as beautiful as Indra’s 
bow, mixed with the black powder of anjana, the yellow 
powder of aritdra and the red powder of sindura (vermi- 
lion). We shall go and bathe in it. Let us bathe, friend ; 
let us bathe. 

‘ Though the lord of the hill who enjoyed us has depart- 
ed from us, saying “Give up your fears”, shall we bathe in 
the stream that comes from the hill surrounded by a misty 
grove? We find no reason, do we, to be displeased at the 
fresh floods which come after embracing the rocks of his 
mountain O , it is only with the fresh stream which 

^ A kind of musical instrument now gone out of use. This and the 
mention of similar instruments like the drum, the horn and the bell show 
that music formed an essential part of prayer. 

^ A song appropriate to the hilly region. It may be noted that the 
ancient Tamils developed peculiar modes of music according to the geographical 
environment of the whole Tamil land. There was pdlai music, neydal 
music, marudam music, and so on. 

® Kannaki was first adopted as a deity by the hill-maidens, and then by 
the important kings of South India. A shrine was built for her. 

* The words of the maid to the heroine. When the hill-maidens began 
bathing in the waterfalls, their thoughts turned towards their lovers who were 
at that time separated from them. 

* The lord of the mountain is the hero. The poet hints that the stream 
(a lady) embraces this mountain of which their hero is the lord. But the 
maiden says that they need not be jealous of this action on the part of the 

XXIV] Kunrakkuravai 277 

comes after embracing the hillock that we shall play : with 
whom else should we plav, dear friend? 

'We can see no single reason to vex our hearts 
at the new floods which come after sporting with the gold 
of the hill, do we? O, it is only with the fresh floods 
that come after sporting w'ith the gold of (our lord’s) hill 
we shall frolic : with whom else should we frolic, dear 
friend ? 

' We do not see anything that should vex our hearts, 
do we ? — at this new stream which brings the flower-buds 
of his mountain? O, it is only with this new stream which 
brings his mountain flower-buds that we shall play. With 
whom else should we play, O my friend?’ 


‘O girl of sweet words ! We have been sporting, 
diving deep into pure water till our collyrium-eyes became 
red, praying to (Subrahmanya)^ the wielder of the strong 
deadly spear, and engaging ourselves in kuravai (dance). 
Come along, friend, let us sing. 

'O ! This is indeed the spear wielded by the deity who 
never deserts the highly renowmed Cendil,^ Cengodu,® the 
white hill (Venkunram)* and Erakam® — the white, shin- 
ing, leaf-shaped spear, which put an end to (the Asura) 

^ After bathing to the accompaniment of singing and dancing, tlT-se girls 
prayed to their god Murugan that the^^ might be married. 

® The identification of Cendil with Svamimalai, by the annotat<jr, seems 
to be wrong in the light of Erakam being called Svamimalai by Arunagiri- 
svamigal. Naccinarkkiniyar in his commentary (‘Murugu’, st. 189) perhaps 
followed the Arumpadavurai. Cendil is Tiruccendur, the famous Subrahmanya 
shrine in Tinnevelly district. 

® Seven miles from Sankaridroog railway station, and twenty-two miles 
from Namakal, Salem District, The place is also noted for an Ardhanarl^- 
vara temple containing a shrine of Visnu in the same compound- (See 
Dikshitar, The Matsya Pur ana, p. 71.) 

* The identification of this shrine is not yet established. 

® Erakam is Svamimalai, seven miles from Kumbakonam railway 
station in Tanjore District, situated on the northern bank of the Kaverj, 
The god enshrined goes by the name of Svamxnatha, 

The Silappadikaram 


^ura (in the form of a) mang'o-tree, ^ in olden days, by 
chasing him into the sea surrounding the earth. 

‘O ! This is indeed the spear held aloft by the match- 
less deity with six faces^ and twelve arms ; this is the 
shining spear wherewith (the God) riding the peacock 
(pinimukamy and celebrated by the king of the celestials, 
vanquished the Asura enemies and destroyed their great- 


‘O ! This is indeed the spear decorating the lovely hands 
of him who was suckled by six mothers in the lotus-bed of 
the ^aravanai pool (^aravanappumpalli) p this is the long 
spear that destroyed the Kraunca mountain, after cleaving 
the breast of the Asura who had that hill for his residence.’® 


‘O good girl with bracelets ! I am moved to laughter. 
To cure me of the (love) sickness caused by the owner 
of the cool hill on which pepper grows, my mother who 
is not aware of the idle talk in the village (alar) thinks 
that (the spirit of) Kadamban® (Murugan) has manifested 
itself in me, and has sent for the Velan’s*^ (exorcist) 
veriyadaiy° intending to abjure it. 

1 The I 
is supposed 
by tradition 
^ Sanm 

ent village of Manappadu, about eight miles from Tiruccendur, 
another form of the original name Mapadu, and is connected 

the Asura Sura. 

1 of Sanskrit literature. 

» Cf 


a xf 


^er t« 




» Or 


» Ar 





nto V, 1. 13. 

'e the words of the heroine to her 
)urite deity. 

iuce of the hill consisted of cane anc 
‘amil names for Subrahmanya. 

1 name of the same deity, 

F dance performed to cure a man posj 
the aid of Subrahmanya and is p 
:ises the bad spirit out of the victim 




‘O good girl with the lovely bangles ! This again 
provokes my laughter ! If the exorcist who is appointed 
to deliver me from love-sickness caused by the lord of 
these mountains, comes, that exorcist is a fool. If 
Murugan will manifest Himself then He will be a greater 
fool, even though He destroyed the Kraunca mountain. 

‘O good girl with the serrated bracelets ! This also 
provokes laughter in me. If the exorcist appointed to 
remove the love-sickness caused by the chieftain of the 
hill of exceeding fragrance, comes, that exorcist is a fool. 
If the son of 5iva, seated under the banyan tree^ manifests 
Himself then He will be a greater fool. 

‘O good girl with the choice ornaments ! This further 
provokes my laughter. To expel my severe sickness caused 
by the embrace of the lord of this mountain, if the exorcist 
comes, he is a fool indeed. And if my deity who wears 
the garland of kadappam,^ and the wintry blossoms, mani- 
fests Himself, He is much more a fool than the exorcist 
appointed to drive away my sickness.’ 

(The maid replied) : 

‘The son of the god seated under the banyan tree 
(5iva) will come (riding) his peacock with his consort to 
the courtyard where the appointed exorcist will perform 
the veriyadal.'^ When he comes, we shall ask his blessing 
on our marriage with the lord of this great mountain.® 

‘O son of the god of Kailasa hill !® We worship Your 
feet that look like red asoka flowers, and also the youth- 

^ Cf. Kalittogai^ st. 81-3, Mani., canto iii, 1 . 144. The Daksinamfirti form 
of Siva is alluded to. 

® This flower blossoms during the rainy season. 

® Now follows the reply of the maid to the heroine. Invariably we 
notice the plural form used by the maid in all love-themes in Tamil literature. 
The idea underlying this is that the maid identifies herself with the heroine. 

* Cf, Pur am. y st. 22. 

* The reference is to the gandharva form of marriage. 

® Legend has it that the abode of Siva is Kailasa, the divine hill, and hence 
Siva is known as Kallasavasl, 

aSo The Silappadikaram [XXIV 

ful daughter of the mountain folk, who has a crescent- 
like forehead of the peacock’s hue. We beseech you 
to give us the hero in (a form of) marriage other than that 
sanctioned by Brahma.^ 

‘We worship your two feet, O son of the daughter 
of the mountain (Paxvati)®, with Valli of the crescent-fore- 
head, the youthful daughter of the Kuravas^ dwelling in 
this our ancient mountain. O great god ! Make our hero 
marry so that it may be known unto many. 

‘She is a Kurava lady. She is of our community. 
With her we worship your two feet, you of the six faces ! 
May he, who touched your two holy feet and promised 
to wed me, be blessed with a good marriage, and be rid 
of a disapproved union. 


‘When we were singing thus, the lord of our mountain 
wearing a gorgeous garland, overheard us with sympathy 
keeping himself hidden.® Before he would depart, I went 
up to him, touched his revered feet with my hands and 
stood praying to him. Long live you, friend, and listen to 
what I said (to him). 

^ The reference here is to the prdjdpatya form of marriage, which shows 
that all the eight forms of marriage prescribed by Hindu law-codes were 
by this time known to the Tamil land. 

® For the legend see the Matsya Pur ana, Uma is the daughter of 
Himavan and Mena. 

® The Kuravas are a primitive tribe living among hills and mountains from 
prehistoric times. They still linger in small numbers leading the lives of 

^ Here we see that the hero and heroine had already had a clandestine 
union of which there was idle talk among the villagers. There was fear on 
the part of the maid that if her parents came to know of it, she would be 
taken to task. We seem to read in these stanzas the disadvantages of kalaviyal 
and the benefits of karpiyaL See Kdla4iyd.r^ st. S6- 

® What follows is the narration by the maid of what had happened 
when she was making the above remarks. The maid noticed that the hero was 
overhearing their conversation, and finding him slip away, she ran to him 
and requested him to marry the heroine in public- She noticed signs 
of sympathy on his part and opined that the proposed marriage w’oulcl 
<?oon take place, 




‘You came to this village wearing a kadamba garland 
and wielding a spear, for the sake of our damsel. But 
you have neither six faces nor a magnificent peacock ; nor 
have you the Kurava girl (Valli). Nor do you possess the 
Lord’s well-knit shoulders. The people of these small 
hamlets will not recognize you as the god who is the 
wearer of the kadamba garland. Verily, they are ignorant 


‘Thus then, having heard what I told him of the idle 
talk in our village, he became sad at heart, but quietly 
went away. It is likely that the lord of this mountain 
country will (soon) marry you. 

‘We shall sing an appropriate song in honour of the 
chaste lady who is worshipped by many, who was shown 
her husband by groups of several Devas and who destroyed 
the glory of ancient Madura with her breast. 

‘We shall sing; come, live you long, friend; we shall 

‘We shall sing ; come, live you long, friend ; we shall 

‘We shall sing in praise of her who burnt the city of 
Kudal of the tall mansions when its righteous rule vanished. 
When we sing in praise of her who burnt (Madura), we 
shall (also) pray for the hand of the lord of these mountains 
in an honourable wedding.’^ 

With sympathy the chaste ladies praise and worship 
the pretty lady (Kannaki) in this fertile field of ours. 
Even after the Devas had with extolment restored this 
pretty lady (Kannaki) to her husband, they did not cease 
magnifying her greatness. 

^ In anticipation of the early consummation of marriage the maid advised 
the heroine to worship the new deity, the Lady of Chastity, and be blessed 
by her^ in the belief that Her blessing would not be in vain. 


Tlie Silappadikaram [XXIV 

‘Praised and worshipped by the Devas of the celestial 
reg'ions, the lady who stood under the sweet-smelling* 

'vengai of the forest she who stood in the shade of the 

'vengai of the forest — attained her abode along with her 
husband in Heaven from which she will not be sent back. 
If we sing in praise of her who will not be sent back from 
Heaven,^ this village will also be granted a similar boon.^ 

‘O, our village is blessed with a great boon ! It is 
blessed with a great boon. This village which is to wit- 
ness the marriage of our lady of gold bangles with her 
husband, is blessed. 

‘In this way, while we were singing the song of praise 
for boons received, witnessing our kuravai dance® and our 
kondunilai^ song, our lover would come to this very place 
by His blessing and enjoy the drink (of heroes). May he, 
the chief of the western country (Kudagu)® who carved 
the bow-emblem on the Himalayas and ruled the Kolli® 
(in the south) live many days in happiness !’ 

^ She has attained, in philosophical language, nirvd'^a. 

® The implication is that the blessing of the Lady of Chastity would not 
only benefit a particular individual but the whole community. 

^ This canto shows that hura^vai was of different kinds of which at least two 
are mentioned in the Sila-ppadihdram. That which was perfomed by the women 
of the cowherds was in honour of Visnu, and that by the hill-maidens in honour 
of Murugan- We notice differences in their technique. 

* is a kind of ceyyul or song sung apparently to the accom- 

paniment of the huravai dance. This is evident from the Kalittogai, st. 39, and 
the commentary thereon. 

® The term hu^ouvar-ho is important, and stands for the king of the 
western region of the Tamil land. It is worth noting that the ancient 
poets divided the whole Tamil land into three regions — west, east and south. 
At the head of the eastern region was the Cola, the I^ufiavar-kd^ and of 
the south was the Pandya, the Tenna 7 Jar'-kd. (See Padirru., st. 55 for the use 
of the term hudavar-hd.) 

® The Sangam classics refer to Xolli in their addresses to the 
Cera (see, for example, PtirandnzirUj st. 22 ; Aha-ndnuru., st. 209 ; Padirru., st. 73)- 
From this we can deduce that the Kollimalai formed an important portion 
of the ancient Cera kingdom. 

Canto XXV 




When the prince of the powerful sword, the son of 1—7 
the Cera^^ who, to the astonishment of the Devas, 
destroyed the kadambu fenced in by the deep sea, and 
who carved his bow-emblem on the Himalayas, stayed 
happily in his silver-white palace beside the (artificial) 
fountain, with his consort Ilango-Venmal,^ he expressed 
a desire to go and see the mountain, whose groves were 
surrounded by clouds, and the music of whose waterfalls 
resembled an ever-sounding tabor. 

Thereupon he left the neighbourhood of Vanji accom- 8-16 
panied by a large retinue of women spread over an 
extensive route so that he appeared like Indra of the 
mighty spear, who desirous of sporting with the divine 
damsels dwelling in the grove, rich in the wealth of 
its flowers, mounted his great elephant {Airavata)^ and 
spread his retinue over a distance of one hundred and 
forty ydjanas, in a region of golden-flowered trees, wide 
stretching river-banks, islets set in sparkling waters, 
groves edged with young trees, play-houses and assembly 

^ Ahani>^ st. 127, 347- The reference is to Ceralatan. See padikam- 

Cf. Aham.^ st. 396. The Cera line is mythically traced to Heaven. 

® Senguttuvan’s queen. It would appear that she belonged to the 
line of Velir who reigned in later days from Kodumbalur in the Pudukottai 
State. (See Pudukkottai Inscriptions. Also Ep. Rep.y No. 315 of 1903, and 1908, 
pp. 87-9.) Similar names Irukkuvel, Irungovel and I|ang6ve| are found in the 
inscriptions. The Kodumbalur line is a branch of the ancient Velir dynasty 
that was flourishing in the days of the Sangam epoch (see M. Raghava Aiyangar, 
Ceran^Senguttuvaftf p. 24, and Cerctvendar dayavalakku, pp. 35-6). 

® Indra ’s elephant, 

284 Tlie Silappadikaram [XXV. 17 

17-23 With his suite he reached the bank spread with fine 
sand dunes from the Periyar river d which falls from the 
great mountain and appears like a garland on the breast 
of Visnu. Its flowing waters were covered with fully 
blossomed kongu, vengai, konrai in overhanging clusters, 
as well as with ndkam, tilakam, and fragrant dram, around 
which swarms of bees and beetles were murmuring their 
sweet songs. Here he stayed at ease. 

24-32 Everywhere could be heard the songs of the hill-women 
accompanying the dances proper to each region, the music 
of the priest^ (Velanpani) in honour of the victorious God 
of the red lance, the vallai song sung to the pounding of 
the grain, the shrill shouting of the guards in the iinai- 
fields, the clamour of the Kuravar as they broke open 
honey-combs, the heavy drum-beat of waterfalls, the 
trumpeting of elephants attacking tigers, the loud high- 
pitched voices of the watchmen (sen on) in their lofts, the 
noises of mahouts as they trapped elephants in the kheda, 
besides the clangour of his promenading army. 

SS—SS Then there appeared before him the hill-folk like 
vanquished kings,® laden with tribute, awaiting his 
audience in the court at flourshing Vanji, rich in 
rare articles. They came carrying on their heads such 
presents^ as : the white tusks of elephants, loads of ahil, 
whisks of deer-hair, pots of honey, chips of sandalwood, 
lumps of red sindura, loads of anjana and beautiful aritdra, 

This is Ponndni (Sanskrit, Purnavdhint) which takes its source in the 
Anaimalai Hills. See Pandit R, Raghava Aiyangar’s Vanjimdnagar, p. 54. 

® Here are depicted the customs and the habits of the hill people. Their 
priest was named Velan. They trapped elephants and gathered honey. In 
addition to ordinary watchmen it appears that there were guard-stations, 
made by erecting huts in the thick branches of lofty trees where men were 
stationed to raise a hue and cry whenever they anticipated danger from wild 
animals or their enemies. 

® This demonstrates that there were a number of tributary kings to the 
Cera, w^ho was the de facto overlord of the Tamil country. It appears that 
the tributes were generally paid in kind. Cf. Perumkadat, Bk. I, ch. Iviii, 
11- 83-99- 

* Here we are furnished with a list of fauna and flora of the mountain. 


XXV. 56] 


cardamom stalks, pepper stalks, kuvaivuru (arrowroot 
flour), luxuriant kavalai, ripe coconuts, delicious mangoes, 
garlands of green leaves {paccilai), jack-fruits, garlic, 
sugarcane, flowery creepers, rich bunches of areca-nuts from 
luxuriant palms, bunches of the big variety of sweet plan- 
tains, ali cubs, lion cubs, tiger cubs, young rutting ele- 
phants, young monkeys, bear cubs, varndai deer that 
roam the hillsides, fawns of the timid deer, fawns of the 
musk deer, harmless Hide mongooses, peacocks with 
beautiful feathers, navi kittens (civet cats), wdld hens, and 
parrots with their honeyed words. 

They said : ‘We have been your slaves for seven 5^-63 
generations. Long live your prowess ! Under the forest 
vengai tree a lady with a breast plucked out, suffered un- 
equalled distress ; but celebrated by celestials she ascended 
to Heaven. The celestials praised her. We do not know 
which is her native place, and whose daughter she is. 

But we know that she came to your country. May your 
line last for several hundred years !’ 

Thereat the great Tamil scholar Rattan, ^ who had 64—86 
been witnessing with wonder and joy (all that was happen- 
ing), addressed the king, the delight of the world and 
the wielder of the long spear, thus : ‘Listen, 0 great and 
powerful king ! I shall tell you what happened to the lady 
of lustrous bangles, and to her dear husband, as a result of 
an ill-fated anklet. I will also tell you how that beautiful 
woman took her anklet and pleaded before the king of 
powerful troops, and also how the great and ancient city 
of Madura was razed by the rising flames from the un- 
developed breast of that great lady of chastity, who threw 
her fair anklet before the queen and left her in wrath 

^ Sittalai Sattanar, the author of the epic Manhnikalai, Here is 
unquestionable internal evidence that Sattanar and Ilango-Adigal were con- 
temporaries, and that both the Manhnekalai and the Stlappadikdram are not 
romances but are historical documents portraying contemporary political and 
social life in the Tamil land. Sattan was an eye-witness to what happened 
In Madura. 

286 The Silappadikaram [XXV, 87 



declaiming thus : “O lady of the five-plaited hair! Know 
this : ‘The Pandyan king, who sat on the lion- throne wear- 
ing Laksml in his breast, fainted and died, unable to 
resolve the perplexity of the lady of flower-wreaths.’ ” 
Without waiting to hear Kannaki’s heroic words in full but 
not uneasy in mind although unable to support her great 
sorrow, the noble queen touched his flowery feet and fell 
dead, saying : “Let me go the way my lord has gone’’ — as 
if her soul sought the departed one. 

‘As if it were her intention to point out to you, and 
to tell you, O mighty king, the nature of the injustice per- 
petrated by the powerful Pandyan, (Kannaki) came to 
your kingdom, not (wishing) to return alone to her own 
native place. O king, may your rule of great fame 
prosper from aeon to aeon !’ * 

When he heard of the cruel deed of the king of the 
Pandyan country, the Cera, the king of kings, was anguish- 
ed and said : ‘Before these words, which well deserve 
condemnation from any monarch of our status, reached our 
ears, it is good that the Pandyan laid down his life. For 
it is the departing soul of the king that has straightened the 
righteous sceptre,’^ which was bent by this irresistible act 
of destiny. 

Tf rains fail, great havoc is caused (to the country). 
If living beings suffer unrighteousness, widespread fear 
is caused. Paying due regard to the welfare of his sub- 
jects, and wary of tyrannical rule, a protecting king® born 
of a noble line occupies a position which is but suffering 
and is not to be sought after.’ 

^ Cf. Maduraikkdnji, 1, ic)4. 

* In simple words : hitherto the sceptre had been straight, but an unjust 
act made it bend. The king’s voluntary death, however, removed the stigma 
attached to it and made it once more a righteous sceptre. 

® The responsibilities of a king are emphasized here by the author. These 
lines follow the Sanskrit law-codes where the king is ordained to discharge 
his duties without any regard to rights. The ancient kings did their duty 
first and then claimed their right. Even an autocratic ruler like Rilvana 
followed svadharma^ (Rdmdyana^ *Yud\, ch. Ixiii.) 


XXV. 105] 



The king spoke thus gracefully to the learned poet 105- 109 
who had graphically narrated the tale of woe, and said to 
his queen : ‘One chaste lady lost her life in peace when her 
husband died. The other in wrath came to our kingdom. 

Of these two, O fascinating lady, speak, who is better.?’ 

When the monarch said this, the great queen replied 110-114 
‘Let the (Pandyan) queen whose soul departed before 
she experienced the agony of surviving her husband, 
enjoy the great bliss of Heaven ! And let this Goddess of 
Chastity who has come to our extensive country be duly 

The king with the garlanded white umbrella, approved 1 15-1 21 
these words and turned towards his learned councillors 
when they said : ‘Either from the Podiyil hills of immortal 
renown, or from the great Himalayas where the bow- 
emblem has been carved, a stone should be brought to 
fashion her image. Both are equally sacred because 
one is washed by the floods of the Kaveri and the other 
by the holy Ganges.’ 

The monarch replied : ‘It is no matter for felicitation 1 22-140 
if kings born in my family of great swords and high valour, 
be satisfied merely with picking up a stone from the 
Podiyil hills and cleansing it in the waters of the ancient 
Kaveri.® If the king of the high mountains (Himalayas), 
where live the twice-born® Brahmanas'^ distinguishable by 
their matted locks of hair, undried garments, three-stringed 
sacred threads on their chests, and the strength of their 
three sacrificial fires, does not give us the stone needed 
to carve an image of the great Lady of Chastity, then we. 

^ This shows that the queen also took part in the deliberations of the 
State. We know from the Rdmayana that Mandodari went to Ravana’s court 
after the death of Prahasta, and dissuaded him by several arguments from 
fighting Rama. (See Dikshitar, Hindu Administrative Institutions^ p. i6o.) 

® This proves beyond doubt that a part of the Kaveri region belonged 
to the Cera Kingdom. It may be noted that the Kaveri which is seven miles 
from Vanjikkaruvur is as much the Cera river as it is the C6|a. 

® Dvijas of Sanskrit literature. 

* Some of the habits and customs of Brahmanas are mentioned here. 


The Silappadikaram [XXV. 141 

wearing- our vanfi garland from the south, shall demonstrate 
to those who have survived those already dead, the insta- 
bility (kanciy of infamous lives which do not pursue the 
ordained path, the bridal kdnci^ indicative of the giving in 
marriage of the ever-youthful girl (Uma) born in the 
ancient family to the moon-crested Deva (5iva), and the 
great hand,' to the opposing northern (king). We shall 
deprive him (the Himalayas) of his high crown, resplen- 
dent like the moon, and shining with a victory-giving 
garland of manddra flowers strung together with full-blown 
vengai blossoms. We shall look to all this.’ 

With these words, he adorned his elephant-soldiers 
with vanji garlands, celebrating the auspicious day when 
the umbrella was taken out {hutainilaivanji},^ the glorious 
success of the Cera (korravanji),^ the high distinction 
of earning the perpetual title the mahdrdjya,^ the great and 
glorious vanji (pemvanjif victory, and the unmatched 
fame achieved by the supply of large quantities of food 
{perumcorruvanji}^ and lastly, the triumphant vallai of 
everlasting glory (korravallat).^ He made his war-attired 

^ This is kdnci-t-tii^aiy a major theme describing a warrior defending his 
position, wearing a garland of kdnci flowers. (See Tolk., ‘Purat’, sutra 24). 

^ Makatpdr Kdnci. See Pura.^ venbdmdlai iv, st. 24. 

3 Etirunrutal is ‘to take a fiim stand for making an attack’ {Tamil Lexicon 
p. 525). Cf. Pingalandai ‘Vadkar’ — etirunral hand. 

^ ‘Theme of a king sending the royal umbrella in advance in an auspicious 
hour before he actually sets out on an expedition’ (Pwra., venbdmdlai iii, st. 3). 
See also Tamil Lexicon. 

® ‘Theme extolling a king who destroyed his foes with his sword’ {Puza.^ 
venbdmdlai iii, st. 7). 

® Mdrdyavanji is a theme indicating the status of overlordship after 
vanquishing the enemy. See Tolk., ‘Purat’, sutra 8, comm, by Ilampuranar : 
cf. Pura.^ venbdmdlai iii, st. ii). 

^ Peruvanji is yet another theme {Puza., venbdmdlai iii, st. 22) treating 
of setting fire to the enemy’s country. 

» Perumcdziuvanji is what the Tolkdppiyam styles perumcdzrunilai ; ‘PoruP, 
63. (See also Pura., venbdfndlai lii, st. 23.) It is a theme treating of a king 
feasting his soldiers sumptuously on the eve of a battle. 

® Kozravallai is ‘a theme indirectly describing the prowess of a king by 
regretting that the enemy’s country will be destroyed* {Tamil Lexicon^ p. 1167). 
See Fuza.j venbdmdlai iii, st. 7 : also Tolk., ‘Pui;at’, siltra 8. 


XXV. 150] 


army wear garlands of unbroken palmyra leaves, and 
exhorted them saying : ‘Outside the golden city of un- 
flowering Vanji"', we shall wear the vanji garlands" so that 
they may keep company with our fierce swords.’ 

Villavan Kodai (his minister), then addressed the 1 50-1 59 
king : ‘May your righteous rule last many years ! You 
fought against your equals who surrendered their tiger- 
flag and fish-flag on the bloody battlefield of 
Konkan.® This (incident) has reached the ears of elephants 
stationed in the eight directions.^* My eyes will 
never forget the sight of your advancing elephant in the 
midst of Tamil hosts which destroyed the joint forces of 
Konkanar, Kalingar, the cruel Karunatar, Bangalar,® Gan- 
gar, Kattiyar® famous for their innumerable spears, and the 
northern Aryas. 

‘Nor can we forget the valour you displayed single- 160-164 
handed, when having made your mother bathe in the full 
and rising floods of the mighty Ganges, you waged such 
a terrific war against a thousand Aryas, that the cruel God 
of Death stood aghast. 

^ Cf. Puram.j st. lOO : also st. 22 and st. 27. 

® Here is a pun on the word Dafiji. The city is ever young and can 
never become old on account of the monarch’s prowess. 

^ The Cera defeated ihe Pandya and the Cola monarchs and became the 
overlord of the Tamil country. 

* Diggajas of Sanskrit mythology. 

® The enemy kings of the Cera king. The Bangalar are probably the 
people of Bengal. The Gangar may be the early Gangas. 

® The Kattis seemed to have occupied the region, south of V a dngarhumi. 
They are frequently mentioned in the Ahandnuru (st. 44 and st. 226) and also 
in Kuruntogai, st. ii. 

^ This shows that Senguttuvan had already been to North India once 
and shown his prowess. From a vague reference in the Purandniiru (st. 62 and 
63) that when Senguttuvan’s father and others fell slain in battle their 
women also committed safi, it is argued that this expedition of Senguttuvan 
was to secure a stone on which to carve an image of his mother. 
Against this theory must be set the fact that (i) there is no implicit reference 
to the sati of Senguttuvan’s mother, (2) that there is no reference, explicit or 
implied, of a stone for an image, and (3) that according to Arumpadavurai- 
a^iriyar it means that she was taken on a pilgrimage for a sacred bath. 


ago The Silappadikaram [XXV. 165 

165—172 ‘If you now propose to extend the Tamil sway over 
the entire region fenced in by the roaring sea, there will be 
none in the whole world who can stop you from doing it. 
So send a message to the following effect : “The object with 
which our king goes to the Himalayas is to bring a stone 
on which to carve the image of a deity.” Seal it with your 
clay seaP bearing the designs of the strong bow, the fish 
and the tiger, emblems of the Tamil country, and send it 
to all the kings of the north.’ 

Thereupon AlumbilveP replied : 

I7j_i77 ‘The spies of all countries situated in the cool shade of 
the naval tree (i.e. Jambudvipa or India) never leave the 
borders of our protecting (capital) Vanji.^ Will not these 
spies send information to their respective kings famous for 
elephants with ornamental trappings? So, it will be 
enough if we proclaim (your expedition) by tom-tom in 
our own city.’ 

178-1 94 The king of the troops irresistible in battle (^enguttu- 
van) agreed. When he reached the glorious unfadable 
city of Vanji, rich with tribute obtained from expeditions 
against enemies, it was proclaimed throughout that magni- 
ficent city by the beat of a drum carried on the nape of 
the strong elephant of state. 

‘Long live our gracious king ! May he protect the 
world from age to age. Because our guardian monarch 
marches forth to procure a stone from the great Himalayas 
inscribed with the bow-emblem, all ye who are kings of 

’ Note the use of the clay seal for letters of administrative importance. It 
is of interest that similar seals have been discovered among the recent pre- 
historic finds in the Indus valley. 

® Alumbilvel was apparently a Vellr chieftain of a small area called Aium- 
bil. In this sense the word occurs in Sangam works like the Ahandnuru, st. 44 
and Maduraikkdnji, II. 344-5. 

^ This proves the extensive nature of the spy system explained in 
the Kautallya Artha§astra and the Tirukkurah 

* A feature of dharma-yuddhat (the dharma-vijaya of the Arthaidstra 
and of A^okan inscriptions). This was to inforna everyone concerned 




the northern countries, come forth to meet him with 
tributes. Save yourselves, by remembering (before it 
is too late) the heroic exploit of our monarch who overthrew 
the hadamhu of the sea,^ and his equally heroic deed of 
carving the bow-emblem on the Himalayan slopes.^ If 
you will not listen, abandon your wives and lead the lives of 
anchorites. Long live the army,^ precious as his own face 
to the king who wears victorious anklets.^ 

^ See above, canto xxiii, IL 8 1-2. 

® There is a special reference to Senguttu van’s planting the emblem of 
the bow on the Himalayas in the Sirupdndrruppadai . 11 . 47-50. 

® The term sendmulzham is a Sanskrit expression and means generally 
a division of an army- In military literature it may also mean a division 
of the army consisting of three elephants, three chariots, nine horsemen and 
fifteen footmen. 

Canto XXVI 



I -1 8 After the tom-tom^ had been sounded, the king 
mounted his ancestral lion-throne when the purdhita,^ the 
chief astrologer, the celebrated ministers, and army com- 
manders gathered together and blessed him : ‘Long live 
our king of kings.’ They requested him to indicate to them 
the royal intention (to march) in the (northern) direction. 
The Cera of the white umbrella, which rose higher 
than that of all the rival kings of great armies, 
declared publicly thus : ‘If the remarks of the kings of 
the north, who lead insecure lives, communicated to me 
by saints residing in the Himalayas, when they came here, 
are to be passed over in silence, that will cause humiliation 
to kings such as ourselves. So, if my unfailing sword 
does not successfully help me to make the northern kings 
carry on their crowned heads the stone on which the deity’s 
image is to be carved, and if I fail to strike terror into the 
hearts of my enemy-kings who are ardently war-like and 
who wear glittering anklets, may I become the wielder 
of a sceptre striking terror in the subjects of my own fertile 

19—24 The dmn then said : ‘O mighty conqueror in battle ! 
These remarks apply only to kings ( the Cola and the 
Pandya) wearing garlands of dr and margosa flowers, and 

^ See below, canto xxix, ‘ Uraippattumadai’. 

* The purdhita was an important limb of the State and was a member of 
the ministry. This reminds us of the status he occupied in the Artha^dstra 
polity, where it is said that the arms of the Ksatriya aided by the science of 
the Brahmana attain success. The technical term is dsdn (Sans., Acarya). 
{Ar. Sds, Bk. I, ch.3.) 



XXVI. 25] 

beautiful jewelled crowns. O Imayavaramba ! Is there 
any monarch who dares to defy your wrath They 
meant no insult to you ; so curb your anger.’ 

At this the astrologer versed in the five kelvis,^ who 25-31 
knew the effects of the planets in each of the twelve signs 
of the zodiac,® rose up and said : ‘ Powerful king ! Long 
live your valour ! The time is now auspicious for making 
the rulers of this vast earth prostrate themselves before 
your beautiful lotus-feet. Prepare to start out in that 
direction which you intend to follow.’ 

When the monarch of unfailing success heard this, he 32—42 
ordered that his sword and umbrella should be taken 
northward. Then to the accompaniment of cheers from 
the Porunar,^ the war drum made a deafening noise, so as 
to cause Adisesa, bearer of the weighty earth, to bend down 
his head.^ Jewelled lamps dispelled the darkness of the 
night ; and (lifting up) their ranks of closely flying banners, 
the striking-force, the five great assemblies and the eight 
great groups, the purdhita in the service of the king rich 
in fierce horses and elephants, financiers, upholders of 
dharma, and executive officers, all spoke (with one voice) : 

‘ Long live the ruler of the whole earth.’® 

^ Cf. Kuialvenhd 773. 

® Titi^ Vdram, Nak^atram, Yogain and Karanajii. Also Natpu (ally), 
Atci (success), Uccam (leading to glory), Pakai (enemy), and Nicam (leading 
to dishonour). 

® This shows the development of astronomy in the Tamil land and the 
blind faith of the people in the elfects of the movements of planets on 
individuals and the State. Mauthkan (Sans., Mauhurtika) is the technical term 
for the astrologer. 

* Bards who encouraged and cheered an army. That such a system was in 
vogue, even with regard to Aryan warfare, is testified to by the dramatist 
Bhasa and the statesman Kautalya. Here it was the purdhita who instilled 
enthusiasm into the minds of the soldiers. (See Hindu Administrative 
Institutions, p. 294.) 

^ The reference is to the legend of the serpent Xdisesa bearing the heavy 
weight of the earth. 

® The blessings of the officers of the State on the eve of the march of 
the army. 

294 Silappadikaram [XXVI. 43 

43-49 His sword of increasing martial repute and garlanded 
white umbrella were then placed on the nape of the great 
elephant^ accustomed to swallowing large balls of rice, 
and taken outside to their appointed places near the 
fortified walls.® Then the monarch who was distinguished 
by a garland of palmyra leaves intertwined with perfect 
vanji flowers, entered his assembly hall, and entertained 
to a grand feast® the leaders of the great troops who were 
clamorous and eager for vigorous warfare. 

50-57 The sovereign lord of the sharp sword, decorated his 
crown of gems with vanji blossoms from the unflowering 
Vahji when the morning drum sounded at the gate, announc- 
ing the time for other kings of the earth^ to pay their 
tributes. With the victorious vanji-wreath. were worn 
the sandals of the great God in whose form the whole 
universe manifests itself ( 5 iva), and who wears the crescent 
in His long, dark matted hair ; and having laid the head 
that bowed to none (else) at His holy shrine,® he cir- 
cumambulated it. The sweet fumes from the sacrificial 
fires® offered by the Vedic Brahmanas deprived his garland 
of its lustrous colour. He then mounted the nape of his 
proud war-elephant. 

5S-67 There appeared before him some persons bearing the 

^ Pattavarttanam was the name of the State elephant. 

* Preliminaries on the eve of the inarch of the army. Belief in an auspi- 
cious hour was universal and the parasthdnam and prayers show the prevalence 
of superstitious ideas. 

5 It is to be noted that the feast was given in the night. See, for an 
explanation of the term penwicdru, canto xxv, 1. 144. and n. 6. 

* A reference to the time for meeting subordinate chieftains. 

^This shows that Senguttuvan was a follower of the orthodox religion 

which consisted in the worship of Siva and Visnu, without any sectarian 
bias. The temple under reference must have been the Pa^upati-Koil of the 
present Karur. 

® Here is a clear reference to the religion followed by the Cera monarch. 
It was the Vaidika religion, an important feature of which was the fire-rite. 

This shows that the Brahmanas of those days were largely engaged in per- 
forming Vedic sacrifices, and were agnihotrins and hence Diksitars in the 

real sense of the term, 



XXVI. 68] 

prasddam of the Lord (Visnu) who slumbers^ in a 
(yogic) trance at Adakamadam^ and addressed him with 
benedictory words : ‘May success attend on Kuttuvan,® the 
lord of the west !’ Since the king had already placed on 
his crown of gems the beautiful sandals of the Lord whose 
matted hair bears the Ganga, he received this prasddam 
and carried it on his fair, bejewelled shoulders. 

As he thus gloriously set forth, the dancing-girls 68-73 
who had gathered in the different theatres appeared with 
clasped arms and said : ‘O conquering monarch ! May you 
under the shadow of your white umbrella on your elephant 
with its forehead decked wdth vdkai, tumhai and pondai, 
present so delightful a sight as to cause our lustrous bangles 
to become loosened.’^ 

On the one side Magada poets,® Vaitalikas and Sutas 74“77 
praised his success in the field of battle ; on the other, 
elephant warriors, cavalry captains and soldiers with shin- 
ing swords,® celebrated the might of the royal sword. 

^ This refers to the y'^ganidrd of Visnu as mentioned in the Puranas. 

The identification of Adakamadam with the Padmanabhasvami temp’e at 
Trivandrum by the commentator Arumpadavuraialiriyar is unconvincing. (See 
also K. G. Sesha Aiyar’s views in /. I. H., 1932, pp. 135-63.) 

Adakamadam is probably a reference to the Vaisnava temple that is now- 
found in the suburb of Karur. For it is a far cry from Trivandrum to the 
capital Vaiiji. To have carried the prasddam all that wmy would have taken 
several days in those times of slow communication and difficult transport. It 
is impossible to think that the news of the march had reached distant 
Trivandrum and made the temple authorities go post-haste, even to Cranganore 
for the sake of argument, or to Karur, to bless that king. It is remarkable 
that there is no trace of such a Vaisnava temple near or about Cranganore. 

^ Kuttuvan is apparently a title adopted by Imayavaramban after he had 
extended his sway to the Kutlanadti, and in the same way the Kudakko implies 
that the Cera was also the lord of the western country. It may be noted in pass- 
ing that these two ndcius, the Kuda-nadu and the Kutta-nadu, are portions 
of the Kadanmalainadu which formed a large division of the ancient Cera 

* The implication is that they are soon to be separated from their lovers. 

® (Sans., Magadha.) The presence of Magadhas and the Sutas was a 
North Indian convention. Their function was to glorify the king in season 
and out of season. Cf. At. Sds., Bk, X, ch. 3. 

® The foot-soldiers were often enlisted from the Maravar class who were 
a virile and hardy tribe, 

296 The Silappadikaram [XXVI. 78 

78-92 (In this manner) the monarch left Vanji, like Indra 
leaving his celestial city to attack the Asuras. The 
leaders of the army and the advance guard of his forces, 
which seemed to have spread to the very shores of the 
foaming sea, made the backs of the mountains bend 
(beneath their weight) and caused the plains to quake. 
He marched thus with his prancing steeds and decorated 
chariot corps, till he reached the outskirts of the blue 
mountain (Nilagiri).^ There the swaying elephants, the 
chariots, the horses and the veteran foot-soldiers stayed in 
a camp (pddi) protected by zealous guards. The 
king, resplendent as the sun, graced Mother Earth with 
his holy feet, and as he went to his great chamber he 
received the praises of his able warriors. 

93-104 Afterwards, prompted by a desire to see this ruler of 
the vast earth who was like Indra® in wealth, saints 
moving in the sky left for the royal assembly and appeared 
with their bodies flashing like lightning. The monarch 
rose up and rendered them obeisance,® whereupon they 
said : ‘Listen, O Cera born in Vanji through the grace 
of :Siva^ of the matted hair ! We are going to the 
Malaya (Podiyil) hills. It is your duty to protect the 
learned Brahmanas who live there, O great king ! ’ They 
then blessed him and departed. Soon after appeared the 
105-115 dancers from the Konkana country,® exclaiming: ‘Long 
live the lord of the sea-girt earth !’ The fierce Karunatar 
in their respective dresses and ornaments, and actresses 
whose dark curly hair was loosely woven with shining 

^ The army halted at the Nilgiri hills. 

® The comparison of Senguttuvan with Indra who went to attack the 
Asuras, shows the influence exerted by Sanskrit legends in the Tamil 

® This statement is appropriate to the Furanic tradition that the 
Gandharvas, Yaksas, Kinnaras and others used to fly in the air. As they 
were supposed to be divine beings, they were also worshipped. 

^ Here is 'further evidence to establish the personal religion of the Cera 

^ The kingdoms of Konkan and Karunataka are pnder reference, 


XXVI. ii6] 


garlands, whose incipient breasts were adorned with 
(jewelled) chains and whose long eyes resembled dark 
carps, sang thus in the panivari 

‘The black koels send forth their note : the bees pro- 
duce the music of the ydl ! The summer, when buds 
bloom, has come ! Yet our lover has not appeared.’ 

Next came the people from the Kudagu country, with 116-121 
their (dancing) girls, possessors of fine bangles and 
carp-like long eyes. They celebrated in song the kuravai^ 
peculiar to winter, thus : 

‘O lady wearing bangles of fine workmanship ! Put 
on your jewellery ; watch the moment ; the clouds gather 
rapidly with loud thunder-claps. The chariot in which 
my lover rode has returned. He has finished his work.’ 

The Ovar^ also came blessing the king: ‘May our 1 22-1 24 
king with the mighty sword bring his expedition to a 
successful end* and live long with his flourishing circle 
of friends and followers.’ 

The wielder of the lance that made his enemies quake 1 25-140 
rewarded those who praised (him), in the manner ordain- 
ed by the master of dances,® with rare ornaments of which 
they had no knowledge. When he rested, the gate-keeper 
came and reported : ‘O king of the righteous sceptre, and 
of the lofty standard with the bow-emblem ! One hundred 
and two actresses, and two hundred and eight accompany- 

^ Panivari was the song sung during summer by the heroine who expected 
the arrival of her lover, 

® Kdrhkumvai is a kind of dancing and music appropriate to the winter 
season. Here it may be noted that at one and the same time while it was 
summer in Konkan it was winter in Kudagu which bears testimony to the 
author’s accurate geographical knowledge. It is also worth noting that this 
is the third kind of kuravai mentioned in this classic. The other two already 
noticed are Kcciy at kuravai and Kunrakkuravai. 

® Oviyar, a tribe. Arumpadavuraia^iriyar speaks of them as ettdlar 
(panegyrists). This is not convincing as panegyrists have already been 

* Literally, ‘ finish the work assigned to his sword 

® An officer of the State (perhaps in charge of fine arts like music and 

2 gS The Silappadikaram [XXVI. 141 

ing singers, and one hundred jesters who are adepts in 
the ninety-six modes of pasanda,^ one hundred lofty 
chariots,^ five hundred spirited elephants, ten thousand 
steeds with trimmed manes, twenty thousand carts laden 
with different kinds of merchandise® from the northern 
country unknown to other places, with their contents 
marked by pictographs, and lastly a thousand kanjukas^ 
with well- coiffured heads, under the leadership of Sanja- 
yan,® have arrived at the gate.’ 

I.1-155 The king said : ‘Let the dancing-girls, the great 
officials, and musicians, both vocal and instrumental, come 
hither along with Sanjayan.’ Sanjayan then entered the 
splendid assembly hall of the righteous king, made his 
obeisance, and after praising him in many ways, he 
introduced to him in order the most distinguished 
officials, and also the hundred and two players, and 
addressed him thus : 'O king wielding the righteous 
sceptre ! The Nurruvar Kannar® who have no differences 

^ Ninety-six kinds of pdsandas are distinguished. There is nothing to 
corroborate this in Sanskrit literature. /Apparently there were a number of 
heretical sects. 

* The numerical strength of the army and commissariat which followed 
Senuguttuvan in his northern expedition. 

® Here is evidence of the use of the Indus script and the Egj'ptian script 
in the ancient Tamil land, implying a large volume of trade between these 
countries and the far south of India. 

* Kanjukamdkkal^ literally, ‘men attired in splendid dress’. From the 
context we gather that they were messengers of whom different kinds 
are distinguished. Kanjukin was an important character in Sanskrit dramas. 
He was generally an attendant on the harem, or a chamberlain, and 
usually an aged Brahmana. See Vikramor,, Act III, sc. i. and Sdkuntala, Act 
V, sc. 3. 

® The chief ambassador was Sanjayan. 

® It is difficult to interpret this term. The difficulty lies in deciding 
whether the expression stands for a certain individual or a group of individuals. 
If it is singular number, it may refer to King Satakarni. Taking it in the 
plural, Pandit M. Raghava Ayyangar identifies them with the chiefs of Malva. 
Considering the fact (which the Silappadikaram warrants) that Nurruvar Kannar 
had the command of both banks of the Ganges, meaning that their sway 
extended to E. Malva, and the fact of the Malva chief being present at the 
consecration ceremeony of Pattinidevi, it is reasonable to assume that an 
Andhra king is under reference* and that he was an ally of Senguttuvan. 


XXVL 156] 


with you and are quite friendly, have said : “If the expedi- 
tion to the north by the Cera king is intended to select a 
stone to carve the figure of a deity upon, we will take 
a stone from the lofty Himalayas, bathe it in the rushing 
currents of the Ganges, and bring it to him. We are 
capable of doing this.” May you live long to rule over 
the sea-girt earth.’ 

The protecting king whose ocean-like army could 156-165 
devour the lives of enemy-kings possessing victorious 
lances, said in reply : ‘Balakumara’s sons. Kanaka and 
Vijaya,’^ and other northern monarchs, with unrestrained 
tongues* on the occasion of a royal banquet spoke dis- 
paragingly and in ignorance of the valour of Tamil kings. 

With exceeding wrath, even like the God of Death, this 
army marches forth.® Therefore instruct the Nurruvair 
Kannar and tell them to prepare for us a great fleet of boats 
in order that we may cross the sacred Ganges.’ 

After Sanjayan had gone away, the 'kanjiikamdlzkal, a 166-171 
thousand in number, who were faultless in speech, brought 
chips of sandalwood and pearls from the deep sea together 
with tributes dispatched by the Pandyan f then the 
guardian king directed his pictographic scribes to send, 
through them, letters (of acknowledgement) sealed with 
clay, to all those kings.® 

After (the messengers) had left (for their respective 172-181 
destinations) the ruler of the sea-girt earth received the 
praises of the chief officials in charge of different local 
units, broke up his camp and marched to the holy Ganges 

^ For a probable identification, see K. G. Sesha Ayyar^s article on *The 
Date of ^ilappadikaram* in the Madras Christian College Magazine^ 1917* 

Cf. Kurahenhd 127. 

® It is interesting to note that royal banquets were held, recalling modern 
State banquets. The Arumpadavurai interprets the term •virundin mannar as 
‘new kings’. In this case the meaning is that ‘Kanaka and Vijaya and other 
new kings spoke thus in a meeting*. 

* This shows that the Pandyan king was a subordinate chieftain of 

® This institution answers to the lehhakd of the A^thaidstra^ 

300 The Silappadikaram [XXVI. 182 

which he crossed, on the fleet of boats supplied by the 
Kannar, to the northern bank where they welcomed him. 
Passing beyond that region also he proceeded to the 
uttara} country of the enemy hemmed in by a vast expanse 
of water, and with his army entered the camp near the 

182-196 Confronted with such a warrior, Uttaran (Sans. 

Uttara), Vicittiran (Vicitra), Uruttiran (Rudra), Bairvan 
(Bhairava), Cittiran (Citra), : 5 ingan (Simha), Tanuttaran 
(Dhanurdhara), 5 ivetan ( 5 iveta), and other kings of the 
north, along with Kanaka and Vijaya marched at the head 
of a confederate army vast as the ocean, saying : ‘Let us see 
the prowess of the southern Tamil kings.’ When they 
advanced thus ^enguttuvan inwardly rejoiced, even as a 
hungry lion in search of prey would rejoice at the sight 
of a herd of elephants, and sprang upon the different 
forces of the enemy decorated with hand garlands. The 
pandal of flags swallowed the sun’s rays ; the earth (the 
battlefield) re-echoed to the sounds of the cruel drums 
covered with well-tanned skins, white conches, roaring 
drums, long horns and sweet cymbals (pdndil),'^ reinforced 
by the all-pervading thunder of the royal war-drum with 
its hairy covering^ seeming to devour lives given in 

197-203 At that time the volume of dust raised by archers with 
bows on their shoulders, by soldiers with fierce spears in 
their hands, by warriors with leather shields, by mighty 
chariot- warriors, by elephant-men on their white-tusked 
elephants, and by fleet horsemen, spread over that vast 

^ What territory actually constituted this uttara country is difficult 
to say. Perhaps it is a reference to the territory north of the Ganges. 

® A reference to certain martial musical instruments. 

® It was the custom to have the royal drum covered with the skin of a 
powerful hull which had vanquished a tiger by sheer prowess. The hair was 
not removed from the skin. (See Jlvakacintdmani, st. 2899 Maduraikkanju 

11. 732-3.) 


XXVI. 204] 


region blindfolding the people and choked the clappers 
of the bells hanging from the necks of the war-elephants, 
and the loud-toned conches attached to the stately 
standards — which prevented them from striking more 

The vanguard of one army came in close contact with 204-210 
the other and confusion prevailed. Heads and shoulders 
were cut off and separated when the archers gathered 
the dead bodies into heaps. The headless bodies (kavan- 
dam-Y of the (soldiers) cut off by the sword, danced 
keeping time to the music of female ghosts, whose eyes 
resembled one-faced drums. Female goblins formed 

themselves in groups and danced drinking the blood 
gushing from the carcasses mixed with human flesh. 

The valorous soldiers of the Arya (northern) kings 21 1-2 19 
celebrated for their death-dealing chariot forces, were thus 
slain and piled upon the battlefield ; the tops of their lofty 
chariots, as well as their massive fighting elephants and 
the groups of swift-footed horses, were destroyed and piled 
together in heaps^ by the Cera with the brilliant anklet, who 
pompously wore on his high crown a fitting garland of 
tumhai^ flowers intermixed with palmyra leaves, and 
showed himself to the Arya kings in the battlefield like 
the God of Death riding fast on his buffalo^ to swallow 
up all lives within a day. 

The mighty spearmen Kanaka and Vijaya who bore 220-230 
angry spears in their hands and their fifty-two able 
chariot- warriors who had spoken insultingly of the Tamil 
kings, now fell a prey to the fury of Senguttuvan. Some 
others dressed their hair in coiled plaits, some wore ascetic 
robes, some smeared themselves with ashes, some looked 
like anchorites seated on pedestals with peacock’s feathers, 

^ See Patiinappdlai, 1 . 236 and 11 . 256-60. Cf. Matsya Purdna, ch. 50. 

2 The term nulilattu means killing in large numbers and piling up the 
carcasses. See Malaipadu, st. S7, comm. 

® Tumbai was an emblem of unique victory. 

* Mahisa is the steed of the God of Death. 

302 Silappadikaram [XXVL 231 




some as minstrels, some with musical instruments on their 
shoulders, and some as dancers threw away their swords 
and went to different regions in suitable disguises. 

But those who had to guard the accoutred elephants 
shook with fear. These animals Senguttuvan yoked 
like mere oxen, and using swords as sticks, he brought 
down the sheaf (the enemy) and by beating threshed it.^ 
Him who ploughed the battle-ground with his spear, the 
goblins praised. They lifted with their long bangled 
quivering hands, the dark crowned heads of the dead and 
displaying them in front they sang and praised the First 
God in the celebrated munrerkkuravai (comparing this 
battle) with that at the time of the churning of the milk- 
ocean, and with the battle waged in sea-swept Lanka, 
and also with the war when He, sea-hued, drove the chariot 
(of Arjuna) ; the pvmerkhuravai^ consisted of a goblin- 
dance in that burial ground (the battlefield). 

With crowned heads as the oven on which broken 
heads were placed as cooking vessels and shoulder-blades 
used as ladles, the goblin-cook fed each goblin with a belly- 
full of animal food. Delighted with that ghastly 
meal, the goblin groups said this as grace : ‘Let the king 
wielding the righteous sceptre, who fought and won this 
dharmaic battle,® live long.’ 

^enguttuvan of the mighty spear who had brought 
the war to a successful end said to his foot-messengers : 
‘Go and courteously assure our support to all those who 

^ The term atari-tirittal means literally ‘threshing grain with cattle’. 

The threshing floor is compared here to the battle-ground, and the grain to 
the enemy ranks, and the cattle to elephants. (See Fur am. , st. 371.) 

2 Finrerkkuravai is a kind of war dance, generally danced behind the 
war-chariot of honour to celebrate victory in war. Similarly there was 

munxerkkuravai, a kind of dance danced in front of the war-chariot of honour. 
In this particular case the dance of the goblins represented the pinterkkuravai. 

® This shows that the slaughter of non-combatants was not countenanced. 
When once the sword was cast off and soldiers had put on ascetic robes 

they were not interfered with. It may also be taken to mean that while it was 
a righteous war from the point of view of the goblins it was really an 

unrighteous war. 




uphold the Vedas in the northern region, and who lead 
holy lives by keeping alight sacrificial fires/ Afterwards the 
protecting king, who had won the battle and accomplished 
his object with Villavan Kodai, commanded several 
differently armed units of his army to secure from the 
golden-crested Himalayas a stone slab from which he 
proceeded to carve the image of the peerless Goddess of 

Canto XXVII 


1 1—24 




After the stone slab brought from the renowned 
Himalayas in the north had been carved into the figure 
of the goddess Pattini, the rain-bestower, it was placed 
on the resplendent crowns of Kanaka and Vijaya, who had 
offered battle to Senguttuvan of the angry spear, the king 
of the shining anklet, who as if he had assumed the 
function of the Lord of Death in eighteen ndligais^ 
swallowed up numbers of lives of the Arya kings who 
had not hitherto respected the prowess of the southern 
Tamils so that this sea-girt world might add this to the 
list of battles fought respectively for eighteen years, ^ 
eighteen months^ and eighteen days/ 

Senguttuvan who put to death in the field of battle 
advancing hosts of the enemy in a single day with his army 
of frightful lances, came back to the banks of the mighty 

Sixty ndhgais make one day and night. One hour is equal to 2^ 

® The reference is to a Devasura-yuddha but we have not come across 
a Devasura war which lasted for eighteen years, though a number of similar 
wars are mentioned in the Puranas. 

® This seems to be a reference to the Rama-Ravana-yuddha. There is 
no authority for the statement that the Rdmdyana war lasted for eighteen 
months. Even if we take into consideration the Khara-yuddha which is said 
to have been fought in Hemanla (roughly January), Ravana was slain at 
the beginning of the following April. This calculation gives a duration of 
only fifteen months. But Kamban in describing the shedding of the blood of 
Surpanaka, the sister of Ravana, remarks that it was practically the beginning 
of the war between Rama and Ravana. If this tradition is to be believed 
the total duration of the war may be taken as eighteen months. 

■* The reference is to the great battle fought at Kuruksetra, the con- 
tending parties being the Kauravas and Pandavas. This duration con-esponds 
to that cited in the epic Mahdbhdrata. 

XXVII. 25] Nirppataikkadai 305 

Ganges, and had the stone intended for the goddess 
Pattini bathed in conformity with Sastraic rules, with the 
help of masters versed in ritual.^ There, on the southern 
bank of the crystal-clear Ganges, the king entered the 
camp in a wide plain finely fitted by the Arya kings with 
a spacious palace,^ artistic porches, golden islets, pandals 
beautified by flowers, private chambers, large flower- 
groves, lotus pools, dancing-halls and much else, to meet 
the needs of that highly renowned monarch. 

He summoned to his presence the sons of those 
warriors w^ho : 

had put an end to the ambitious enemy kings in those 
vast regions and made the daughters of Heaven® garland 
them in wedlock ; 

had played havoc in the battlefield, and though 
defeated in action were not disheartened but lay with their 
shoulders and heads, above value, chopped oS ; 

had triumphed over their enemies, though but hired 
soldiers, by the use of spears, ere their own bodies were 
cut asunder in that wide battlefield ; 

had dropped down dead with their swords, their 
ancestry highly applauded and praised in a kuravai dance 
by goblins with sunken eyes ; 

had fallen dead with their fellow-soldiers, causing 
the demise of their wives' who wore sparkling jewels on 
their necks ; 

had, as the vanguard of the army, adorned their 

^ This is another reference to the fact that the king was a follower of the 
orthodox school of Hinduism. 

® The reception accorded to Senguttuvan by his allies in the north 
in honour of his victory. 

® The reference is to mra-svarga^ set apart for bold warriors who remain 
in action to the end and give up their lives heroically. It is said that 
such soldiers enjoy heavenly bliss. 

^ It was the custom for wives to take their lives after their husbands 
had died heroically on the field. It does not necessarily mean that these ladies 
went to the field with their husbands : Tolkappiyanar prohibited this. (See 
‘PoruT, sutra 175.) 


3o 6 The Silappadikaram [XXVII. 48 

crowns with vdhai wreaths in honour of having killed the 
front ranks of the enemy with their spears ; 

had fallen down with an ornamental staff fixed in each 
of their strong chariots and stood with blood on their bodies. 

He also summoned soldiers who had taken possession of 
the field of battle after having cut off, so as to move even 
Yama to compassion, the dark crowned heads renowned 
for incalculable prowess, together with warriors whose 
breastplates had been pierced through to their backs 
causing wounds on their chests. The monarch who, by 
his great triumph, had won renown worthy of celebration 
(by poets) called to each of them ‘ Come near me ’ and 
rewarded one and all with a golden vdhai flower which 
was more than he would present even on his birthday.^ 
He also decorated himself with a garland of palmyra and 
tumbai^ flowers, befitting that great victory. 

4S“55 While he was thus sitting on his throne, the Brahmana 
Madalan appeared before him and said ; ‘Long live our 
king ! The seashore song of the lady Madavi^ made the 
crowns of Kanaka and Vijaya bear a weight. Ruler 
of the conquered sea-girt earth, may you live long !’ 
The king replied : ‘You have spoken enigmatically, and 
are not likely to be understood by some among these enemy 
kings. What did you say, O Brahmana, learned in the 
four Vedas Please explain.’ 

56-65 The Brahmana Madalan then continued : ‘The maid 
Madavi, whilst sporting on the cool beach, had a lover’s 

Rewards for the sons of heroic rulers who fell on the field. The com- 
parison of these gifts with those on the king’s birthday shows that the custom 
was to give gifts on a lavish scale on that particular occasion. The day is 
known as ferumctngalam. (See ToJk.j ‘Porul’, sutra go. Cf. VelJaninaJ, 
Penimpchid., 1 . 295. See above canto xxiii, I. 56.) 

® Tiimhai is a symbolical representation of victory. X^dhai represents com- 
plete victory. 

^ The implication is that but for the song, Kdvalan would not have left 
Madavi ’s house, and there would have been no tragedy and no consequent 
glorification of Kannaki as Devi, which necessitated Senguttuvan’s northern 
expedition in which Kanaka and Vijaya were vanquished. 

XXVII. 66] Nirppataikkadai 307 

quarrel (with KSvalan). Then governed by fate/ she sang 
the seashore song appropriate to her dance. This resulted 
not in their reunion but in their separation, and necessitated 
his entry with his virtuous wife into the ancient towered 
city of Madura, whose reigning king with his wreath of 
leaves attained blissful heaven as a result of the murder 
of Kdvalan, whose wife, O lord of the Kudavar,^ entered 
your country. And now she is being borne upon the 
crowned heads of the northern kings. 

‘Be good enough to listen also to the reason for my 66-78 
coming here, O king of kings holding the illustrious 
spear ! After going round the Podiyil hills sacred to the 
great sage^ and bathing in the famous ghat of Kumari 
(Cape Comorin), I was returning, when, as if impelled by 
fate, I went into Madura belonging to far-famed 
Tennavan of the sharp sword. There when Madari heard 
that the beautiful (Kannaki) had defeated the Pandyan 
king of the mighty army with her anklet, she proclaimed 
in the tdterumanramf' : “O people of the cowherd 
community ! Kovalan has done no wrong ; it is the 
king who has erred ; I have lost her to whom I 
gave refuge. Have the king’s umbrella and sceptre 
fallen from the righteous path.^” With these words, 
she threw herself into the burning flames in the dead of 

‘Kavundi, distinguished for her holy penance, waxed 79-83 
wroth ; but when she heard of the death of the great king 
renowned for his righteous sceptre, her ire was appeased 
and she burst out : “Was this the fate of those who joined 

^ The author seems to emphasize throughout the book the working of 
destiny and the fruits of past karma, 

® This may indicate that the Cera was the lord of the western region as 
the C51a was of the eastern (Kunakku). 

® The sage under reference is Agastya. 

Tdterumanram was the common meeting-place of cowdierds and cow- 
herdesses, and was generally under a tree. 

3o 8 The Silappadikaram [XXVII. 84 

my company She took a vow to die of starvation’ and 
thus gave up her life. 

84-102 ‘I heard in full detail all this and also of the devastation 
that overtook the great city of Madura ruled by the Pandyan’’ 
of the golden car. Overcome by grief I went back 
to my native place, the ancient capital of the Colas" 
and informed the chief men there of this. Kovalan’s 
father heard what had happened to his son and daughter- 
in-law and also to the righteous monarch of Madura, and 
became deeply afflicted. He distributed all his wealth in 
charity, entered the seven Indra-Viharas,’ and began to 
practise self-denial like the three hundred monks who 
roam the sky, having renounced the world to obtain 
release from the cycle of births. The wife of him who 
thus renounced, unable to endure the sorrowful news of 
the death of her son under such tragic circumstances, died 
of pity. Kannaki’s father also (at his fate) gave away his 
wealth in religious gifts, and adopted dharma in the 
presence of Ajivakas"' like sages engaged in penance of a 
high order. The noble wife of him who made these gifts 
gave up her good life within a few days. 

1 03-1 1 1 ‘The lady Madavi heard all this and said to her good 
mother : “I am in duty bound to live a virtuous life. Do 
not allow Manimekalai to take to the life of a courtesan 
which leads to great suflEering.” Shorn of her hair with 
the flower-wreaths therein, she entered the Buddha-Vihara 
and received holy instruction (aram).® These people died 

^ The practice of sallckana or committing suicide by slow starvation is 
commended to Jainas and their ascetics in particular. Tradition says that 
Chandragupta Maurya starved himself to death. 

® One title of the Pandyan king was Seliyan. 

® Kaverippumpattinam. 

^ The Buddhist temple. 

5 Kannaki’s father turned out to be an Ajivaka, while Kaiinaki’s own 
religion seems to have been Jainism or Buddhism. This is another proof of 
the non-differentiation of religious sects in the early centuries of Christian era. 

® The great transformation in Madavi 's life is remarkable. As a 
courtesan her fidelity is all the more appreciable. She became a regular 

XXVII. 1 12] Nirppataikkadai 309 

because they heard this news from me ; therefore I come 
to bathe in the holy waters of the Ganges (in order to 
purify myself). Long live you, O king of kings!’ 

At this the mighty lord of the Ceras, wearing the 1 12-123 
unfadable vanji garland strung with palmyra leaves and 
tumbai, asked : ‘May I hear what happened in the highlv 
flourishing Pandyan kingdom after the king’s death?’ 

Madalan the Brahmana spoke again : ‘ May you live long, 

O king of the great world. You destroyed in a day the nine 
umbrellas of nine enemy kings^ who joined together in an 
alliance against your brother-in-law Killivalavan^ and who 
would neither countenance his elevation as crown prince nor 
listen to his commands but who caused ruin to his thriving 
kingdom ; by this you re-established his golden wheel in its 
rightful place. 

‘O Poraiyan who adorned thyself with a garland of 1 24-1 40 
palmyra leaves on the success of thy sword, held in thy 
right hand, in uprooting the margosa with its long tufted 
branches guarded by Palaiyan,''’ be gracious and listen. 

The victorious Ver-Seliyan^ residing at Korkai^ offered 
a human sacrifice of one thousand goldsmiths in a day to 
the divine Pattini who had twisted off one of her breasts. 

And when ancient Madura lost her glory and was chafing 
in untold trouble owing to royal injustice, this Pandyan 

Buddhist hhik.pim by casting ofT hei hair, the outward sign of a sannycisim 
She also led her daughter to that way of thinking. 

^ See also below, canto sxviii, 11. 116-7. From this it is seen that the 
battle was fought at Nerivayil. See also Padirru^ Fifth Ten, padikant ; also 
T..4.S., Vol. Ill, pp. 102-4. 

s The reference is to Ferunarkilli, son of Senguttuvan’s mother’s brother 
and therefore a first cousin of Senguttuvan. 

® The lord of Mohur, a small but powerful chieftain of the hills. This line 
gives us a glimpse into the ancient practice according to which every 
chieftain had a guardian tree (kdvalmaram)^ and the uprooting of that tree 
by an enemy king amounted to the defeat of the king of the land. See 
Aham., st. 347, 11. 3-5 ; and also st. 127. The reference is to the kadambu being 
felled by Imayavaramban. 

^ Ver-Seliyan was the ruler of Ko|;kai. 

® The Pandyan kingdom had two capitals, Madura and Korkai, correspond- 
ing to the Cola and the Cera. 

310 The Silappadikaram [XXVII. 141 

prince of the lunar line/ which was celebrated for the 
exemplary way in which it gave protection to the people 
of the southern regions, mounted in succession the royal 
throne of Madura, like the sun mounting in the morning, 
with his rays crimson, the divine chariot with the single 
wheeP yoked to seven horses with tiny bells attached 
to their necks. May the king of our land live for all time 
protecting the world from aeon to aeon ; live he in fame.’ 

141-161 During the time when the king sat listening to these 
words of the Brahmana, the wide world was enveloped in 
complete darkness. With the disappearance of the sun, 
the thick spreading twilight reddened the western sky 
where the shining crescent appeared. While the great 
monarch was gazing at the beauty of the crescent,® the 
court astrologer rose up and spoke words appropriate to 
the occasion : ‘It is now thirty-two months^^ since we left 
Vahji. Long live the ruler of the earth.’ Afterwards 
the king went along the car street of his camp, lined 
with strong wooden stakes and enclosed by high, curved 
curtains of cloth, and casting his eyes upon the hill-like 
tents, small and big, here and there, went beyond his 
private chamber down a side-lane and mounted the golden 
throne picturesquely decorated and beautified by the handi- 

^ That the Pandyas belonged to the lunar race is evident from more than 
one reference in the text. If there is any significance in this ancient tradition, 
prevalent as long ago as the early centuries of the Christian era, it shows that 
the Pandyas were not altogether of South Indian stock, purely Tamil in 
character, but a branch of the lunar line established in the Tamil districts 

long before epic times. 

^ This is in accordance with Sanskrit legends where the sun is said to 

ride on a chariot whose single wheel is yoked to seven horses. For details 
see Vimupttrdna, Bk. II, ch. viii, st. 2-5. 

® The custom of everyone, from king to peasant, worshipping the moon 
on the second evening after new moon day was supposed to bring health and 
wealth. See ‘The Lunar Cult in India’ in The Indian Antiquary, September 


* This indicates that it was two years and eight months since 
SenguVuvan had left his capital. A considerable portion of this time must have 

been taken in the march of his vast army when there were no means of quick 


XXVIL 162] Nirppataikkadai 311 

work of expert artists of the palace. He sent word to 
Madalan through the gate-keeper and asked him : ‘Now 
that the princes of the great and fertile Cola kingdom have 
died, does the reigning sovereign exercise his sway with- 
out fault and with success.^’ 

Madalan, the peaceful Brahmana, blessed him : ‘O 162-176 
my king, may you live long !’ Then he said ; ‘Will there 
ever be a time when the sharp spear of the C 5 la, which, 
to the astonishment of the Devas who shine with lustrous 
ornaments destroyed the three fortresses (suspended from 
the sky),^ swerves from its upright path? This cannot 
happen to the righteous sceptre of the monarch who 
carved and offered the flesh of his own body to a pecking 
kite,^ in order to relieve its hunger and to remove the 
severe affliction of the dove hopping on its tiny feet. 

There can never be trouble even in times of adversity 
to the lord whose country is protected by the river 
Kaveri.’ At these words from Madalan, the foremost of 
of the learned Brahmanas, the great king and wielder of 
the lance, wearing the palmyra garland, became mightily 
pleased, and saying, ‘O Brahmana Madalan please accept’, 
he honoured him with a gift of fifty tulams of pure gold 
equal to his own weight.® 

^ See below, canto xxix, ‘Ammanaivari’, 1 . 4. For similar references see 
Puram., st. 39; Mam., canto i, I. 4. Later works like the Rajardjacdlan 
Ula (Kanni, 13) and the Vikramacdlan Via (Kanni) refer to this incident. 

^ In the Malidhhdrata the story goes thus : in order to test king Sibi’s 
impartial justice Indra and Agni assumed the forms of a hawk and a pigeon 
respectively. The pigeon which was pursued by the hawk sought shelter 
from the king. The hawk demanded of the king the pigeon, its legitimate 
prey. The king who had promised protection to the pigeon offered to give any 
substitute for it. The hawk claimed the flesh of the king himself. He gladly 
cut off a piece of flesh and had it weighed. To his amazement the pigeon 
outweighed all pieces of flesh. Then Sibi himself got into the scale, whereupon 
Indra and Agni resumed their genuine forms and glorified his sacrificing 
spirit {Vana Parva, ch, X97). For a more or less similar version see the 
Jdtakas, Vol. IV, pp. 250 ff. This forms the subject of one of the frescoes at 
Ajanta, though the fresco is considerably damaged. See G. Yazdani’s Ajania. 

Part I, pp. 4-7. See also N. J. Krom, Bardhudur (1927), VoL I, pp. 275-7. 

^ A measurement equal to one's weight. This means that Senguttuvan’s 
weight was equal to that of 50 tuldms of gold, and he must therefore have 

312 Tlie Silappadikaram [XXVII. 177 

1 7 7-1 9 1 Afterwards he gave leave to the Arya kings, the Nur- 
ruvar Kannar, to go back to their own prosperous king- 
doms. Next he commanded his thousand messengers 
—noted for their fierce replies to haughty questions asked 
of them by enemy kings — to exhibit to the two great 
Tamil kings, the royal princes of big armies who fled for 
their lives disguised as ascetics, and the Arya herma- 
phrodite’' distinguished for her dimpled cheeks, dark tuft, 
carplike long eyes tinged red at the corners, lustrous ear- 
rings, red mouth with white teeth and siidakam and other 
bangles on her shoulders resembling bamboos, swelling 
young breasts, slender waist which looked like lightning, 
and anklets on her little feet, and also (to present) the 
captive kings Kanaka and Vijaya who fought because of 
their ignorance of the great Tamil valour, symbolized by 
the blemishless palmyra (garland). 

1 9 2- 1 99 In the morning, after undisturbed sleep the bee (dwell- 

ing) in the blossoming lotuses of those vast regions watered 
by the Ganges, was every w^here murmuring ydl-Yike 
music. The young rising sun appeared on the lofty top 
of the eastern hills, spreading its wide rays. The conquer- 
ing ruler of the western regions (Senguttuvan), decorated 
his wreath of vdhai flowers with tumhai of the north, went 
round the famous camp city, and started in a southern 
direction with his victorious army. 

200-209 In the many-storied mansion piercing the sky (in the 
city of Vanji) where the Goddess of Prosperity ever dwells, 
was the golden harem overspread with an artistic flowery 
canopy, the work of skilled hands, ornamented with hang- 
ing festoons of pearls and flowers strung in rows, and 

been of large stature. This is also one of the sixteen supreme gifts enjoined 
on all and on the king particularly. It is clear from the Vijayanagara 
inscriptions that its kings performed these sixteen gifts. See Dikshitar, Matsya 
Pur ana, k Study, pp. 95-100. 

For a more or less similar description of the pedi (hermaphrodite) 
see Mani,, canto iii, 11 . 116-25. custom of sending a fedi along with 

captured kings is peculiar and seems to imply that there was no difference 
between the pedi and the vanquished monarch. 

XXVIL 2io] Nirppataikkadai 313 

glittering with the dazzle of diamonds and of lustrous gems 
ingeniously set at random in gold thread. Here shone the 
queen’s beautiful gold bedstead, borne by its exquisite 
golden legs and covered with the soft down shed during 
the embraces of swans, worthy of the company of her 
lord^ in retirement. There the queen rested, yet could 
not sleep (because of her separation). 

At that time the maidservants who had heard of the 210-216 
triumph of the chariot and sword of Senguttuvan in the 
battlefield, and who were skilled in all modes of giving 
welcome news, (approached her) wishing her long life and 
praising her in many a song, said : ‘(0 Lady), abandon 
now sorrow at the separation of your bosom-lord.’ Next 
the small-bodied, the hunch-backed and the dwarfed waited 
upon her and said ; ‘Let Beauty reappear ! The great 
lord is come. Dress your fragrant flowery hair with day- 
time ornaments.’^ 

Then was also heard the hill song (kurinjippdni) 217-225 
‘Let the path of him who returns on the fleeting elephant, 
decked with vdhai and the tumhai of the north, be short- 
ened ’ sung by the Kurava maids in different ways. 

Waiting in their raised lofts they beheld the forester,^ 
stupefied by drinking honey from honey-combs on bam- 
boos, failing in his duty of hurling stones from slings at 
big elephants which trespassed and slept on the extensive 
millet fields. 

The noisy song (odaippanif of the ploughmen was 226-230 
heard; ‘Having pulled down the great fortresses of the 

^ It may mean that two mattresses were spread one over the other on the 

^ Wives wore no jewellery during the absence of their husbands. Cf. 
also Sila.j canto iv, 11. 47-57- 

® Songs characteristic of the four regions into which the whole land was 
divided were sung, beginning with the hill song. 

^ From this we understand that forest-products were protected by the 
State watchmen. They lived in lofts and their chief article of diet seems to 
have been honey. 

® Odaippani is a song characteristic of the mamdam region. 

314 The Silappadikaram [XXVII. 231 




northern kings, the lord of the Kudavar, who ploughed 
the enemy’s country with asses .and sowed white millet,^ 
is come ; O bullocks ! you need not bear tomorrow the 
heavy plough ; for it is the king’s birthday® when the 
fetters of the imprisoned will be removed.’ 

Beside the celebrated bathing ghat, attractive like 
Indra’s bow in the sky, and spread with the paints, scented 
powders and flowers of the bathers in the cool An-Porunai, 
the music of the flute (kulalpaniy was heard ; ‘ The bow- 
man is coming with herds of cattle from the far famed 
Himalayas. O cattle, you will mix with them.’ This 
was sung by cowherds who had tied their tufts with flower- 
wreaths of charming kuvalai nurtured by the sucking 
bee, and of the sweet-smelling lotus with fully open petals, 
when they stood on the stem of the blossomed screw-pine, 
after driving the king’s cattle to their watering place. 

And there was the well-phrased love-song (antlmpani) 
‘Our king Vanavan has returned to fondle the shoulders 
and the swelling breasts of his youthful queen. Maidens ! 
Let us sing the vanji song^ in praise of his tumbai adorned 
with palmyra.’ This was sung in the language of lovers 
by fisher -girls who assembled on the seashore in groups 
beneath the punnai tree on the sands washed by the frothy 
waves playing ammmai and who gathered in their open, 
bangled hands, lustrous pearls taken out of conches with 
clefts in their right sides. 

Listening attentively to these songs, the mighty (sleep- 
less) queen (Kopperundevi)® replaced her close-fitting 

^ Kavati may also be interpreted as cowrie. 

® The term vellani in the text stands for the king’s birthday. It was a 
custom for the king to dress himself in white on that particular day as a symbol 
of purity and grace. 

® The song of the mullai region. 

* The song of the neydal or the maritime region. 

s The vanji song was sung in honour of victory. 

® The name of the queen was Ilango-venmaL The poet impresses upon 
us that she was an ideal wife and observed vows as a chaste wife should 

XXVII] Nirppataikkadai 315 

bangles. The conches blew. Seated on the topmost 
point of the swift State elephant, under the garlanded 
white umbrella, 5enguttuvan with a vdhai wreath on his 
crown entered Vanji, welcomed by its citizens in a 
procession of carts drawn by elephants. 

during the absence of her lord- She passed practically sleepless nights and 
having discarded her ornaments during the king’s absence, put them on again 
when she heard that her lord was entering the capital. 

^ Elephants were yoked to vehicles and to ride on them was perhaps the 
privilege of royalty. A reference to the existence of such conveyances is also 
made in the Pddirru,, Fifth Ten, padtkam. 





1—8 Evening, when flowers blossom and many say their 
prayers, took possession o£ the ancient city o£ Vahji 
renowned for the wealth^ of its great king’s victory over 
the world, and for his conquering sword and tall golden 
umbrella^ which like the moon cools the earth. At that 
hour maidens with shining bangles offered pretty flowers 
before a lighted lamp^ burning with a white flame, and 
prayed : 'Long live the king of the whole world.’ 
g-.i5 Ladies with collyrium-painted eyes and with firm, 
round, and youthful breasts warmly'^ embraced the sword 
warriors who had brought the king’s mission to a success- 
ful end,''’ and who wore wreaths of palmyra leaves and gold 
chains worked with flowers. The chests of some had 
been pierced by the white tusks of elephants ; the chests 
of others had been scarred with deep wounds caused 
by long lances ; the deep and shining chests of still others 
had been pierced by shooting arrows ; while the jewel-' 
decorated chests of the rest were cleft by sharp swords. 
7—26 that evening, their (ladies’) oblique and passionate 

glances like the flower-arrows of the god with the fish 
flag, from under the curved dark eyelashes on their moon- 
like faces, amidst thick clouds of sleek hair fragrant with 
fumes of incense, conveyed the message (of their hearts) 

^ For similar expressions see Padtrru.^ st. 82, 1 . 16 and Maduraikkdnji, 

I. 763. 

The stick and the top of the umbrella were made of gold. 

® See above, canto tx, 11. 1-3, for the wores of household women in their 
evening prayers. 

^ Cf. Kalinga^, Kadai., 1 . 35. 

See below 11 . 133-4. 

XXVIIL 27J Nadukarkadai 317 

to these young warriors whose chests were adorned with 
jewels. They extolled the evening, saying : ‘This is indeed 
a medicament and the women, whose bodies were like 
tender mango leaves, accorded to them a feast from the 
smiles of joy on their red soft lips, opening from their 
coral mouths in faces with carp-like dark eyes stretching 
to their beautiful ears. 

Evening’ also provided capital amusement to these 27-36 
warriors in the shape of maidens with faultless faces, 
shining with beauty-spots (tilaka) of kasturi. Their curly 
hair and flower-wreaths, where bees still clustered, 
slipped in their enjoyment and they tidied themselves 
in front of mirrors.^ They then gently withdrew a small 
well-looking lute from its ornamental case and played on 
the string twisted over its venerable stem, a pdlai-pan 
which was the natural result of taking the kural (basic note) 
itself as the tonic (kural). Then they played the beautiful 
kurinji-pan in the traditional mode which was the result of 
taking tuttam (the second note of the scale) as kural. 

Evening then departed after pointing out to the people 37-40 
of ancient Vanji celebrated by many, the spreading rays 
of the rising moon which received the homage of the 
world, and which resembled the face of Senguttuvan, whose 
anklets were kissed by the crowns of vanquished monarchs, 
when he gave audience to his aggrieved subjects. 

Then the lovers and their ladies obeyed the behests of 41-46 
the god of love — the archer using arrows tipped with fine 
flowers — who held his sway over the moonlit terraces, 
groves covered with fallen flowers, dancing-halls powdered 
with (soft) earth, pandals with blooming flowers, white- 

^ The poet narrates how Evening acted a& host to the guests, viz. the warrioris 
who had come back from their expedition after a well-earned success. The feast 
consisted of the embraces of the long-separated lovers, and of singing and 

® See Parly §21, 1 . 23 ; Ahamy,. st. 71. The use of looking-glasses was 
very common 

3i 8 The Sflappadikaram [XXVIII. 47 

legged bedsteads and canopied verandas^ over all of which 
spread the cool rays of the moon. 

47"50 In the centre of the ancient city with its rampart walls 
where flags flew, stood prominently the elegantly decorated 
sabhd hall of the golden palace^, like Meru standing in the 
midst of this vast fruitful sea-girt earth. 

51-66 To see the beauty of the moon, the chaste and good 
queen Venmal came, followed on one side by lamp-bear- 
ing maidens^ with glittering bangles who uttered benedic- 
tions of longevity ; and on another side by those who played 
on mrdangams smeared with mud and on lutes with 
curved pegs, and by those who sang sweet melodies (pan) ; 
on one side were dwarfs and hunchbacks who carried the 
paste of the musk deer and the paste of white sandalwood ; 
and on another side eunuchs in women’s clothes carried 
incense and other fragrances, maidens carried mattresses 
scattered with flowers, incense and other scents, and 
maidservants in the approved manner carried mirrors, 
clothes and ornamented vessels. Along with his queen 
the ruler of the sea-girt earth mounted the beautifully 
decorated terrace. 

67-77 Then, a ^akkayan,* a dancing expert from Paraiyur,® 

^ The general meeting-places oi the lovers are given. One featurti 
of such places was the prevalence of cool moonlight. 

® From this we gather that the palace was in the heart of the 
fortress city of Vahji. 

® The queen’s attendants and followers. The paraphernalia consisted of 
musical instruments, scents, flowers and clothes. 

* Jhe Brahmana as actor and dancer. 

® Even today we have in Malabar a professional class of dancers and 
musicians who go by the the name of Sakkiyar. Mr T. K, Gopala Panikkar in 
his Malabar and its Folk (pp. 184-5), gi’V'es interesting details of the dress 
and the methods of these modern Sakkiyars assisted by the Nambiyars who play 
the musical instruments. According to the Divdkaram they were the 
Valluvars or private secretaries to the kings, and the Kuttas^akkiyars were 
a section of the Sakkiyars and were perhaps peculiar to the ancient 
malainddu (see Sen Tamil, Vol. VII, No. i). But an epigraph of 
Rajendra Cola i (V. Rangachari’s Inscriptions of the Madras Presidency, 
Vol. Ill, Trichinopoly^ No. 824) records in his twenty-ninth year 
(a.d. 1041), ‘a gift of land by the great assembly of KamaravalU Caturvedi- 


XXVIII. 78] Nadukarkadai 

which was famous for Brahmanas versed in the four Vedas, 
exhibited for the king’s pleasure, the dance known as 
kotticcedam^ danced with Uma as part of Himself by the 
mighty Siva, while the anklet worn on his beautiful feet 
tinkled : the big parai borne in his loving and graceful hand 
sounded : his red eyes expressed a thousand charming 
suggestions : and his red matted hair tossed in all 
directions : her pddagam did not throb : and yet her sudagam 
was not displaced : her waist-band did not produce any 
sound : her breasts did not shake ; her head jewels 

were not disturbed : and her sleek curls did not get 

When he had finished praising the ruler of the vast 7S“94 
world, the latter went to the hall of audience^ and bade enter 
the Brahmana Madalan, Nilan, and other kanjukins, when 
the gate-keeper informed him of their arrival. Making 

obeisance to the king through the palace-officials,® Nilan 
reported : ‘O king with the tumhai and the anklet, 
tokens of success in battle ! Attended by these vanquished 
Arya kings we went to the ancient city of Sembiyan (Cola) 
and paid our respects to him through his officers.* Seated 

magalam to Sakkai Marayan Vikramasolan for performing the dance 
{6dkkai-kuttu) thrice on each of the festivals Margali-tiruvMirai and Vaiga^i- 
tiruvadirai.’ This shows that sahkai-huttu was a living institution in the 
medieval period of the heyday of the Cola empire. 

^ A kind of dance sacred to Siva also known as kodukotU or merely 

kotti. Here Siva is said to have danced with Uma on one side, that is, in 

Ardhanarisvara form. 

® The term used in the text for the hall of audience is vettiyan mandapam — 
literally the hall where the king sat to give audience to visitors and others. 

It is also known as dJakkamandapam, and perolakkamandapam. See Studies 
in Tamil Literature and History, p. iS.n. 

^ Here we are introduced to another detail of Tamil polity. Officials or 
non-officials who wished to have interviews with the king spoke to the gate- 
keeper who in his turn informed the king and with the latter’s permission 
they were admitted to the royal presence. There were certain officials, perhaps 
of the nature of modern private secretaries, in the palace whose duty it was to 
introduce visitors to His Majesty. 

The term tamar has been rendered as ‘officers’. It appears that visitors 
to a king in Tamil India were taken to his presence by special officials 
who, we have to infer, were appointed for the purpose of w’elcoming 

320 The Silappadikaram [XXVIII, 95 

in the ornamented mandapam constructed (with the 
materials received ,as gifts) from the Vaccira (Vajra), 
Avanti and Magada kings/ he remarked to the commander 
of his chariot corps' occupying the front rank of the army ; 
“It is no achievement to capture in the wide expanse of 
the battlefield those who, after displaying great military 
prowess, gave up their umbrellas and swords and fled in 
the disguise of non-combatants. ““ 

95-108 ‘When we took leave of the magnanimous Cola mon- 
arch with his breast adorned with a glowing garland, O 
lord of the righteous sceptre, we went to see the king of 
Madura of resounding fame. The Pandyan* of the mighty 
spear said : “This is a strange kind of victory indeed, 
gained by the display of exceeding passion and anger 
against monarchs who had abandoned the battlefield to 
the enemy and adopted the garb of ascetics. It is all the 
more strange when 3enguttuvan had decided to use the 
shaft of the far-famed white umbrella placed by the Aryan 
kings on the huge nape of their elephants as a talaikkdl^ (a 
dancer’s rod) signifying Jayanta, and to worship 5 iva with 
His consort Uma at his side at Kuyilaluvam® on a part of 
the Himalayan slopes.” ’ 

them and introducing them to His M.'ijcbty. The commentator explains 
san'kocapariudram as probably meaning private officials who had nothing to do 
with administration. 

^ This presupposes a Cola expedition to north India, sometime before 
the one undertaken by Senguttuvan. 

- From the term talaitUr, it can be inferred that the poet has in his 
mind the traditional reckoning of the army as ratha, gaja, tiiraga, and pada. 
Here ratha occupies the place of honour. 

3 According to the Cola king, the Cera king’s action smacked of unrighteous 

The Pandyan’s view of the capture of prisoners by Senguttuvan. To 
him also the action of the Cera did not commend itself. 

* The talaikkdl was invariably the shaft of the enemy’s umbrella seized 
in war. 

® A place of worship in the Himalayas sacred to Siva. The learned editor 
invites our attention to one Kuylalapuram, mentioned in a commentary on the Jain 
work Nilaheily as one of the places of the Buddha’s advent. It has been 
suggested that the scene of Senguttuvan ’s battle lay in the north at Ko^ala. See 
T, G. Aravafnutham, The Kdveri, the Maukharis and the Sangam Age, p. 40. 

XXVIII. ioq] Nadukarkadai 321 

When Niian reported the disparaging remarks of these 109-111 
two monarchs Senguttuvan laughed with scorn while his 
lotus-like red eyes sparkled Hke fire. (Noticing this 
change), Madalan, of undiminished learning, rose up and 
said : 

‘O king of kings, may your valour five for ever ! May 112-121 
you also live long ! After destroying Viyalur^ famous for 
neydal in small bunches, where elephants sleep in the 
mountains dense with pepper plants, you won a decisive 
victory at N erivayiP over nine kings wearing atti garlands ; 
camping on the outskirts of IdumbiP with your army of 
lofty chariots, you fought a fierce battle on the sea pursu- 
ing the enemy for a long distance you discomfited the 
Arya monarchs who advanced on the banks of the great 
Ganges with its heavy torrents. 

‘O king, wearing a long garland of victory and 122-126 
possessing a huge army ! O lion of kings, who knows all 
that can be known from great men, dismiss your wrath ! 

Ruler of the earth, may the days you have yet to live be- 
come more numerous than the particles of sand in the cool 
river An-porunai !® 

‘Ruler of the earth encircled by the deep sea, may 1 27-142 
you live long ! Pray do not dismiss my words. Listen. 

Even after passing through fifty years of your protection" 

1 Viyalur is noted for pepper and elephants. It is also called Viyalur 
and may be located somewhere in Kadanmalainadu and was once under. 
Nannan Venmal {Aham,, st, 97). 

® The battle of Nerivayil : see Sila.y canto xxvii, L 117 ff. It was a place 
to the south of Uraiyur. 

® See Padirru., Fifth Ten, fadikam. This is Idumbatavanam, a village near 
Tiruttaraippundi, Tanjore Dt. It is interesting that the Tevdram should refer 
to this place. 

^ Here is evidence of a naval expedition. Unfortunately we have no 

* This is modern AmaravatL See Pur am, ^ st. ii, 36, etc. 

® This shows that either Senguttuvan was aged fifty at the time of his 
return to Vanji from his northern expedition ; or it was fifty years since he 
had assumed the reins of government. The text admits of both interpretations 
and possibly the latter is more likely. 


322 The Silappadikaram [XXVIII. 143 

on this earth you do not perform religious sacrifices^ but 
continue to perform the sacrifice of battle. O king, who 
carried out your vow with a sword in your right hand 
and with a garland of palmyra ! Among your ancestors 
in this city one king distinguished himself by destroying 
the kadambu of the seas f another exhibited great prowess 
by carving the bow-emblem on the Himalayas f another 
enabled a Vedic Brahmana in return for composing some 
poems, to ascend (bodily) to the higher world another 
commanded messengers of Death not to take away lives 
indiscriminately but only in a particular order ; another Cera 
penetrated the golden region of the high mountain in the 
fertile kingdom of the barbarous Yav arias'^. 

143-154 ‘Yet another Cera had the might to assail the hill 
fortress (ahappa) of an enemy after driving him away with 
his great army from the dire battlefield ; another in that 
illustrious line of kings bathed in the Ayirai“ river and 
in the waters brought from the two seas another brought 
the Catukkahhutam^ unto Vahji and offered it the 
sacrifice of liquor ; none of these escaped the clutches of 

^ This instance of religious sacrifice and Senguttuvan’s ready approval 
bears out unmistakably that the king was a true follower of the established 
religion of the land represented by the Veda. 

^ Padirrii., st. 2, IL 12, etc. 

^ Further evidence of an earlier expedition to north India. 

^ The reference is to Palai Gautamanar. See Pac/imc, Third Ten, 
padikam. Also Sila.^ canto xxii, p. 63 ff., note. Palyanaiccel-kelukuttuvan 
is under reference. 

^ The Yavana country must have been somewhere in the Indus region. 
It is worthy of note that the learned author characterizes them as men of 
barbarous words. According to the Sanskritists they spoke the mUccha tongue. 
Their kingdom is mentioned among the northern countries in the Brahmanda 
Pur ana j ch. 16. 

® Padirru.y st. 3, 10, 79, 88-90. Ponnani is the modern name. See Pandit 
R Raghava Aiyangar’s Vailpmmagar^ p. 52 IT. The river takes its source 
from Ayiraimalai or Aivaramalai in the Xnamalais, Coimbatore District. 

^ The two seas under reference are the eastern and western seas. In 
other wmrds his sway extended from coast to coast. 

® Catukkam is from the Sanskrit term Catuskam. It was a feature of 
ancient cities. See, for example, the description of Lanka in the Ramdyana^ 
‘Sundara.’, ch. 53, st 26, 

XXVIII. 155] Nadukarkadai 323 

death. You know well that this body is not stable. Did 
you not see in your battle with the Arya kings, who 
insulted the audacious Tamils of conquering prowess, 
that wealth ‘ will not abide for all time with the men living 
in this fertile world.? 

‘O just king, it is not necessary to point out to men 155-170 
of wisdom that youth will not last for ever.^ O protecting 
king, the goddess of wealth abides in your breast, for 
you see your own body covered with grey hairs. Even 
good souls in divine bodies may, it is just possible, enter 
human frames on earth. O honoured king, the souls of 
those who are born as men now may perchance be reborn 
as animals. Souls which cast off the bodies of animals 
may, it is possible, find a place in the afflicted bodies of 
hellish beings.^ Men are but actors on a stage, and will 
have no enduring embodiment in only one fixed form.* 

That life after death will depend upon deeds® done in 
a previous birth is a significant statement which is not 
untrue. O king decorated with a garland of seven crowns® 
on your breast, may the discus which you hold accumulate 
more and more repute for your line ! 

‘O king of the powerful sword! I have chosen (to 171-178 
voice all this) not to solicit rare gifts from you. I cannot 
suffer to see a good soul wrapped within a good body 
travel the path trodden by the common people of this vast 
world. O king who has crossed the limits of learning T 

^ The author’s view of wealth is explained in Sanskrit by two pregnant 
words cala and cancala. 

® By past karma a god may be born as a man, a man as an animal, 
and an animal as a hellish being or vice versa. 

® Here is the philosophic view of life. The author is against postponing 
things to the morrow. 

* See Mam., canto xii, 11 . 51-2. 

® Ibid., canto vi, 11 . 158-9. Belief in karma and rebirth. 

® Cf. Padirru.j st. 14, 16, 45 comm. 

^ Evidence which shows that Senguttuvan was highly learned as befitted a 
Ksatriya monarch. By the fact that he consented to do the yajna, it is clear 
that he was a member of the Ksatriya community. If it had not been so, 
the Brahmana Madalan would not have insisted on this, which was the 
Ksatriya king’s birthright. 

324 Silappadikaram [XXVIII . 179 

You should therefore do that great and fruitful yajna 
(sacrifice which Vedic scriptures ordain for a Ksatriya king) 
with the help of sacrificial priests learned in the four Vedas, 
in order that you may gain that (superior) path which gods 

179-186 ‘If you say that a good deed can be done tomorrow,^ 
it may chance that your good soul trained in Vedic lore 
will leave your body even today. In the whole of this sea- 
girt world there is not one who knows how long he is to 
live. May you with this your wedded queen^ live ever 
worshipped by monarchs wearing anklets of submission 
who fall at your feet ! May our eminent king live long 
protecting the world from aeon to aeon !’ 

187-194 When the learned tongue of the Vedic Brahmana thus 
ploughed and sowed seeds* of divine wisdom in the king’s 
ears, those seeds sprouted forth in right time. With 
a desire to enjoy the fruits of the harvest of virtue, the 
king with the resounding anklets, commanded the presence 
of those sacrificial priests who had completed their studies 
by listening to teachers belonging to a group of traditional 
interpreters of the four Vedas. They were asked to 
commence the festival of sacrificial rituals in the manner 
instructed by Madalan. 

195-206 Then he ordered the release of the Arya kings from 
prison and had them taken outside the ancient city of 
Vanji of exceeding renown, to the mansion of Velavikko, 
surrounded by pools of water and cool flower-groves. 
They were told that they might return to their own cities 
on the day following the end of the religious sacrifice. 
He had then the pleasure of saying : ‘ Villavankodai ! 

Look to their comforts as befits their royalty.’ Orders 

The implication is that the king must perform the Rajasuya. 

® Cf. Arctnefiy st. 67. 

® That the queen’s presence was indispensable for the religious sacrifice is 
emphasized, the dhannapatnl of Sanskrit literature. 

The reference her^e is to the prescriptions of the Srauta-sutra. 

XXVIII. 207] Nadukarkadai 325 

were issued to Alumbilvel and also to dyakkariakkar 
‘Let all prisons® be vacated and cleaned, let all taxes due 
from the citizens of our kingdom be remitted.’ 

Evidencing the example of the C5la king wearing the 207-235 
atti garland, Pattini, worshipped and prayed to by all the 
earth, exhibited the truth of the good old Tamil saying 
that the chastity of virtuous women would not be meritori- 
ous if the valiant monarch did not rule properly® and made 
him (the Cola) realize it ; again she made the Pandyan,^ 
the guardian of the southern regions, realize that the king 
would not live if his sceptre swerved from justice. Further 
the Cera® king of the western regions was made to feel 
that the wrath incurred by (true) monarchs would not be 
appeased till their sworn vows were fulfilled so as to be 
known to the kings of the northern regions. Pattini 
who in raging fury had raised flames from one of her 
breasts and devastated the ancient city of Madura, 
entered our country and stood in the fresh golden 
shade of the cool vengai branches. To that venerable 
lady was dedicated, by the united aid of the dharmaic 
Brahmanas, purdhitas, astrologers, and expert sculptors,® a 
shrine (PattinikkdUam), constructed in all its parts accord- 

^ Officials of the State, probably connected with the Department of 
Accounts, especially the Revenue Department. 

^ See above, canto xxiii, 11 . 126-7. Cf. Marti. ^ canto six, 1 . 161. Jtvaka.^ 
canto 1. 2372. 

^ Cf. Mani., canto xxii, 11 . 208-9. Kuralvenha 543, comm, by Parimela- 
lagar. The implication is that because the Cola king did not reign pro- 
perly, Kdvalan left his wedded wife for a courtesan, and after wasting all his 
wealth, he had to abandon his native place for an alien country to seek a 

- The implication here is that the Pandyan king did not make the neces- 
sary preliminary inquiry before administering justice as evidenced by his 
execution of Kovalan on the mere testimony of his goldsmith. 

® The implication in the case of the Cera is that no Ksatriya should take 
an insult from another Ksatriya lying down. He should squarely face the situa- 

® The Hlpins or the sculptors were there to build the temple according to 
the Silpasastra* 

326 The Silappadikaram [XXVIII 

ing to the prescribed rules^ so that it 'might win the approval 
of the wise. Therein was planted the image of Pattini, 
carved^ with expert handiwork upon the stone brought 
from the Himalayan slopes, the residences of gods, after 
prayers to the god (Siva) on the top of those hills. (The 
deity) was decorated with choice ornaments of exquisite 
workmanship, and worshipped with flower offerings. At 
the temple entrance were stationed (images of) the 
guardian deities.® The lion of kings who brought all 
north India under his control thus performed the ceremony 
of consecration {kadavun-mangalam) and commanded the 
conduct of worship from day to day by sacrificial offerings 
and other festivities. 

^ These rules are largely found in the treatises known as the Agamas. It 
may be that the Aga^na school had come to stay even before the commence- 
ment of the Christian era. See P. T. Srinivasa Iyengar, History of the 
Tatnils, pp. 87-8. 

® This is evidence that Sanskrit works on the J^ilpasdstra had come 
into popular usage in the Tamil land. 

® These are called dih-pdlas and dvdra-pdlas in Sanskrit literature. 

Canto XXIX 






Having defeated the Kongiis in a fierce battle and journey- 
ed to the banks of the great Ganges, v^enguttuvan — son 
of Ceralatan who alone ruled all the earth from Cape 
Comorin to the Himalayas,^ and of the daughter of the 
Cola of the illustrious solar race — remained at Vahji in 
a wrathful mood. At that time several saints of the north 
came there, and reported to him that the northern kings 
who had gathered together on the occasion of the marriage® 
of a certain princess unanimously derided the prowess of 
the kings of the southern Tamil regions, who had once 
opened war on them and carved on the Himalayan slopes 
their distinctive emblems of bow, fish and tiger. In dis- 
paragement they said ; ‘Perhaps there were then no 
crowned kings here as powerful as ourselves.’ Like a 
wheel that has been set revolving by a stick, the decision 
to take a stone from the Himalayan slopes for the image 
(of Kannaki) received confirmation as it enabled iSengut- 
tuvan to vanquish the kings of Aryavarta. When he had 
accomplished this he stayed for some time on the banks of 
the Ganges as an honoured guest, but he made some of 
them bear the Himalayan 5ila-deity'* on their crowned 

Here is a summary in prose of the gist of the whole story. With the 
closing of the last canto ending with rtiangaJa77%, the drama comes to an end. 
Cantos xxix and xxx read like the Uttarakdndam of Valmiki's Rdmdyana. 

® See Padirru.^ st. 43 . 

^ S'vayamvaram or selection of a husband by the bride was a common 
form of marriage among the ancient Ksatriyas. 

* The term in the text is ai^anku^ 

328 The Silappadikaram [XXIX 

heads after bathing it, according to tradition, in the holy 
Ganges. Thus he appeased his exceeding indignation. 
He entered the city of Vahji and enshrined with ceremo- 
nious consecration the idol of Kannaki, whose breast was 
responsible for a revolution, in a temple which was 
worshipped by many crowned kings of the earth offering 

Soon after this, Masattuvan^ became an ascetic, hav- 
ing heard from the gracious Brahmana an account of the 
inconsolable mourning of Kannaki, who had shed tears 
from the carp-like eyes in her moon-like face, and whose 
dark dusty tresses had fallen over her back as she con- 
demned the God of Righteousness for the injustice done 
to Kovalan resulting in his death at the hands of a detes- 
table person ; whereupon she had stood with flowing tears 
before the king, who died of his unjust act. His aged 
wife too gave up her life. 

On hearing this (account) the nurse, the chief maid, 
and Devandi® who had sought refuge with the deity Rattan, 
became sorely vexed and went together to see Kannaki in 
the great city of Madura, and there heard of the havoc 
caused by her cast-off breast. They then repaired to the 
cowherdess Aiyai, the daughter of Madari, who ceased to 
live after the loss of her refugee ; and all of them took the 
route along the Vaigai, and ascending the lofty hill,® 
entered the palace of king Senguttuvan who had en- 
shrined the Lady of Chastity, and addressed him on their 
relationship (to Kannaki) thus 

CL Mani, canto xxviii, 1 . 73. 

® News spread to Puhar of the disaster which had overtaken Kannaki and 
her husband. Devandi, Kannaki 's nurse, and the maid then left for Madura 
to see their distressed friend. 

^ The hills under reference may perhaps be the Palni hills near modern 
Dindigul. Palni is still an important place of pilgrimage to Malayali Hindus. 

* The three who left Puhar for Madura saw Senguttuvan and each 
spoke to him about the greatness of their friend. 





‘Know me ! I am the companion of that deity protected 
by the three crowned kings, who was born in the northern 
Himalayas^ and bathed in the swift flowing tide of the 
Ganges, and whose shoulders are adorned with bangles. 
Know me as the companion of the lady of the Cola 


‘Know me as the nurse of the lady with long eyes, who 
did not show her anger towards the modest and fair 
Madavi® but who went clasping her beloved husband’s 
hand to the dreadful forest where even a potful of water 
could not be found in the wells. Please know that I am 
the foster-mother of the lady of cool Puhar.’ 


‘ Know me as the companion of the lady with the golden 
bangles who had nothing to say to the mother who gave 
her birth, nor even a word for the nurse who brought her 
up, nor for me either, but followed her husband remember- 
ing only her duty as a true wife.* Know me, a companion 
of the lady of Pumpuhar.’ 


‘I have done no penance. I did not realize the implica- 
tion of your bad dream on the day I heard it. O, what 

^ The stone for the image was taken from the Himalayas. According 
to Vdstu literature images were also made of earth and wood. But by the 
time of the Silappadikdram, Hla or stone must have taken their place. 

® As Kannaki’s difficulties were indirectly due to MMavi, it would have 
been natural for her to be angry. But Kannaki’s righteous temperament 
did not allow her to do more than consider how resistless are the decrees 
of fate. 

^ AtittoU is, according to the grammatical treatise Tolkdppiyam, the 
daughter of a nurse who serves as the companion and maid of the daughter of 
the house. 

^ See above, canto xv, 11. 143-4. 

® All the three now address the image of Kannaki. 


The Silappadikaram [XXIX 

have I done? On the day when your mother heard of 
the havoc caused by your cast-off breast, O lady with the 
beautiful tresses of hair, she died of grief. O, did you 
hear, friend, your mother-in-law also died? O, did you 
hear that, friend?’ 

‘Masattuvan heard of the harm done to Kovalan by 
that wretched man, and the consequent death of the 
protecting king. Losing heart, he preferred death to life 
and after making several gifts he took to asceticism.^ 
Did you hear that, mother? O, did you also hear, mother, 
of the renunciation of Manaikan ?’ 

‘Madavi heard of the death of your beloved and of 
the extreme suffering to you, the lover, and of the crying 
for shame by common folk, and lost heart. She went to 
the holy saints living under the bodi tree,’^ gave away in 
charity all her wealth, and became a nun. O companion, 
did you hear that? O companion, did you also hear of the 
renunciation of Manimekalai ?’ 

‘This unmarried girl is the daughter of the old lady'* who 
gave up her life saying : “I enter the fire. I was not able 
to protect the refugee entrusted to me by her (Kavundi) 
of doubt-free vision.” Do you see, friend, Aiyai of the 
lovely teeth ? Do you see, friend, this fair daughter of 
your aunt?’^ 

^ Masattuvan and Manaikan took to an ascetic life. Life as householders 
had no more charm for them. 

® The term bddi tree is significant as it proves that both Madavi and 
her daughter Manimekalai became Buddhist hiksimis or nuns. 

3 Devandi now addresses Aiyai who followed her and her companions from 
Madura to the sacred hill. 

^ The term Avvai or Auvai here is one of respect. 

^ Mama and Mami (uncle and aunt) are terms still generally used by 
Tamilians today when addressing elderly men and women. This form of 
address has thus been the custom from ancient times. 





‘What, what is this? O, what is this? What is this? 

0 ! I see in the sky the marvellous sight of a lightning- 
like figure with golden anklets,^ waist-band, bangles on 
her arms, golden ear-rings set with excellent diamonds 
and other ornaments of superior gold.’ 

Kannaki showed her divine form to ^enguttuvan and 
exclaimed : 

‘The Pandyan is blameless. He is now a good guest 
in the palace of the king of gods. I am his daughter.® 

1 am going to sport on the hill of Venvelan (Skanda) ; 
friends, please come with me there, all of you.’ 


‘Maidens of Vanji, O maids with waists like vanji~ 
creepers, O maids whose feet are dyed with lac, who form 
the retinue of the conquering monarch, all of you, come ! 

‘Come, all of you, and sing about her who devastated 
the city of Ku(^l with her breast and discomfited 
the king with her anklet. Let us all sing about the 
daughter of Tennavan. She came to our country 
whose king spoke these words of praise : “Pandyan 
monarchs would not live if their just sceptre deviated from 
its path.’’ 

‘About that beautiful damsel all of us shall sing. Come 
along, all of you, we shall sing about the Pandyan’ s 

^ Kannaki was seen by Senguttuvan in the air in the form of a goddess. 

2 Here Kannaki calls herself the daughter of the Pandyan king. As 
the latter was the cause of her transformation into a goddess she claims the 
Pandyan as her father. The Venvelan hill cannot be Sengodu as the commen- 
tator has it. Nor can it be Sengunram, if Vanji is to be identified with Karur 
in Coimbatore district. This hill is also known to the Sangam classic, 
Kalittogai (st. 27). But it is difficult to venture a conjecture as to its identifi- 
cation, Probably the reference is to the chain of Falni hills (see R. Raghava 
.Aiyangar’s V anjimdnagar , p. 128). 

® Group worship by the people of Vanji. 


The Silappadikaram [XXIX 


‘We said that she was our king’s daughter. She said 
that she was the creeper-like daughter of the king of the 
Vaigai.^ We shall praise the Vanavan (Cera). Let the 
gods praise the king of the Vaigai.’ 


‘Long live the king who surrendered his life^ to the 
tears of the sorrow-stricken maiden prompted by pre- 
ordained fate ! 

‘Long live the old dynasty® of kings reigning over the 
people of Madura encircled by the constantly flooding 
Vaigai ! Live long ! 

‘ Long live the king^ who made the tall-crowned 
monarchs of northern regions bear on their heads the 
(stone) image yielded by the king of mountains (the 
Himalayas) ! 

‘Long live the king and his ancient® dynasty at Vanji 
encircled by the An-porunai in continual floods ! Live 
long ! 

‘All of us shall sing to the king of the Kaveri regions.® 
Let us sing of Puhar, O girls with flower-decked 
tresses !’ 

^ This is in accordance with Kannaki's own claim to be the daughter of 
the Pandyan. 

® As has already been shown this points to the high sense of justice that 
actuated the Pandyan monarch. The king here stands euphemistically for 
the king’s line. 

® This shows that the Pandyan dynasty had a much more ancient history 
than we would ordinarily imagine. 

^ This is in praise of Senguttuvan who made Vijaya and Kanaka carry 
the stone intended for the image. 

® The reference is to king Nedunjeliyan. 

® It is worthy of note that each of these three Tamil kings lived on the 
banks of a river. The An-porunai for the Cera, the Kaveri for the Cola, 
and the Vaigai for the Pandya show the truth of the theory that ancient 
kingdoms and civilizations rose and flourished on important river beds. It 
bears out the antiquity of Tamil culture also. 





‘O Ammanai ! who is that strong man who reigned 
over the sea-girt world and guarded the tall fortress of the 
king of gods? That powerful person who guarded the tall 
fortress, O Ammanai, know to be the Cola king who 
pulled down the three fortresses suspended from the 
heavens. O Ammanai, sing of Puhar, the capital of the 
Cola ! 

‘O Ammanai, who is the conquering king® praised in 
heaven for weighing himself and offering flesh from his 
own body, for the sake of a dove? That king who cut off 
his flesh, O Ammanai, was the king® to whom (on a pre- 
vious occasion) a cow appealed for justice. O Ammanai, 
we shall sing of Pumpuhar, that king’s capital ! 

‘O Ammanai, who was he that planted the emblem of 
the strong tiger on the northern Himalayas when the ele- 
phants at the eight cardinal points^ looked on with unwink- 
ing eyes? O Ammanai, he who carved his tiger-emblem on 
the northern Himalayas was the conquering monarch who 
with grace brought all the eight directions under one 
umbrella. Let us sing, O Ammanai, of Pumpuhar of that 
king. .... 

‘O Ammanai, what is the object of the maidens with 
handsome ornaments, singing in their homes holding wood- 
en balls in their hands? The object of singing (thus) in 
their houses is, O Ammanai, that their garlanded king 
should embrace their full-grown and alluring breasts. If 

^ This section of the Ammanai song, consisting of three stanzas of five 
lines and one stanza of six lines, is sung in praise of the Cola monarch who 
had his capital in Puhar. Ammanai is a wooden ball. The game of ammanai 
is still current among the womenfolk of the Tamil land. 

* The reference is to Sibi Cakravarti. 

^ The allusion is to Manunitikanda Cdlan. 

* Astadiggajas in Sanskrit Literature, Legend has it that the universe lies 
balanced on the tusks of elephants, each elephant supporting a quarter of the 
world* Here it alludes to the extensive conquests of the king. 

334 The Silappadikaram [XXIX 

our king so embraces such full-grown and alluring breasts, 
we will sing of the romantic city of Puhar, O Ammanai !’ 


‘O girl shining like a golden creeper ! With golden 
necklaces glittering and in harmony with the repeated 
tinkling of our lightning-like girdles, let us run in all direc- 
tions and strike the rebounding ball saying : “Long live the 
Pandyan, long live he.’’ Let us strike the ball saying : 
“Long live he who wears Indra’s garland on his chest.’’ 

‘Let us go, come, sit and move about in front, behind 
and everywhere, as if the lustrous creeper -like lightning 
of the sky had descended to the earth. Let us run and 
strike the rebounding ball saying : “Long live the Pandyan, 
long live he.’’ Let us strike the ball saying : “Long live 
he who wears Indra’s garland on his chest.’’ 

‘The rebounding ball did not stay in our palms : nor 
did it rise up heavenward leaving the vast earth. Let 
us go and strike the ball, saying : “Long live the Pandyan, 
long live he’’. Let us strike the ball saying : “Long live 
he who wears Indra’s garland on his chest.’’ 


‘Seated on the ornamental swing suspended by ropes, 
let one of us standing close to Aiyai stretch out her hands 
and, beating the single time-beat, sing of our king who first 
destroyed the kadambu. Shall we not swing ourselves in 
the swing rolling our palm-like oval eyes? Shall we not 
swing ourselves in the swing singing about the carving of 
the cruel bow? 

‘Singing about the heroism and valour of the mountain 
king Poraiyan, our Cera, who ungrudgingly gave immense 

^ This section of Kandukavari (or play with balls), consists of three 
stanzas of four lines. Each is sung in praise of the Pandyan king reigning at 

^ This section of 'OialvaH, consisting of three stanzas of five lines each, 
is in praise of the Cera king reigning at Vahji. 

XXIX] Valttukkadai 335 

quantities of food^ in the war fought between the five 
(Pandavas) and the hundred (Kauravas), shall we not 
swing in the swing causing our cloud-like tresses to wave? 
Shall we not thus swing singing about the way in which 
the kadambu was destroyed ? 

‘Shall we sing to the glory of our king, the lord of 
men, who protects the earth as far as Cape Comorin, 
abounding in heavy large stones, with his bow, fish and 
tiger flags, including the fertile country of the Yavanas 
of barbarous speech Shall we not swing in the swing 
bending our lightning-like waists ? Shall we not sing 
of the prowess of him who carved the bow-emblem ?’ 


The maidens of Puhar'* gathered together imder the 
shade of the flowering kdnci tree to pound valuable pearls 
(as rice) using sweet sugarcane as their pestles, singing in 
pr,aise of ^embiyan’s strong chariot and his discus ensign 
and his garlanded shoulders wide and broad. That alone 
is song. That song alone is the song which is sung by 
these damsels (of Puhar). 

The damsels of lofty- towered Madura® pound with 
coral pestles, pearls celebrated by poets, singing in praise 
of the fish-emblem of the Pancavan® whose shoulders shine 
with the garland of the king of the gods. That alone is 
song. That song alone is the song which eulogizes the 
margosa garland of the Pandyan. 

^ See above, canto xxiii, 1 . 55 : cf. st. 2. 

® Another reference to the extensive conquests of the Cera king. He 
was not only the overlord of the Tamil kingdom but carried conquests to 
the very north, including the Yavana country- For the Yavanas, see Padirru.y 
second padihani. It is interesting to note that the Yavanas spoke a harsh 

^ This section is praise to aV the three principal Tamil Kingdoms, 
the Cola, the Pandya, and the Cera. 

^ Puhar was noted for sugarcane and corals of great value. 

* Madura was noted for superior pearls and corah 

® Pancavan is another term for the Pandyan. 

33^ The Silappadikaram [XXIX 

The damsels of Vanji^ who pound priceless pearls with 
pestles of white ivory in sandalwood mortars, sing of 
the worldwide fame of the garlanded Cera for the de- 
struction of the kadamhu after crossing the waves. That 
alone is song. That song alone is the song in praise of 
the palmyra garland, which enraptures the heart. 

Now, it is difficult for those who do not worship the 
auspicious feet of Poraiyan^ of the great bow, to bless our 
lord of the great earth. Our king’s illustrious daughter 
(Kannaki) spoke benedictory words : ‘May our :Sengut- 
tuvan live long.’^ 

^ Vanji was noted for elephants, sandalwood and also pearls Thus all the 
ancient Tamil kingdoms were rich in pearls. 

® Poraiyan is another term for the Cera. 

® The section appropriately ends with Kannaki giving her blessing to 

Canto XXX 




'Fhe great king who had subdued the north saw with 1—5 
his own eyes the divine form of Kannaki. He looked 
well at Devandikai and asked her : 'Who is that Manime- 
kalai for whom you cried out your heart? What were the 
grounds for her renunciation? Please tell me that/ 

Devandikai blessed the king : 'May the king’s 6-21 
fame grow without diminution ! May the country shower 
plenty !’ She then narrated to him the great renunciation^ 
of ManimH^alai, celebrated among the group of dancers, with 
handsome waist ornaments. She began by saying that her 
dark tresses had grown in luxuriance so as to be divided 
into (the usual) five plaits, and her cool eyes delightfully 
red in the corners had acquired a new charm of 
which she was unconscious. (Continuing her descrip- 
tion of Manimekalai she said :) Within her tender coral 
lips, her pearHike teeth were not fully grown ; her lovely 
breasts had developed ; her bosom had broadened ; her 
slender waist became narrower and her pretty alk^d 
had widened ; her two thighs were rounded ; her 
shapely tender feet, unable even to bear (the weight) of 
ornaments, became glossy to the view. Yet men of 
noble families did not recognize her as a professional 
dancer because the dancing master had not initiated her 
into that art. 

^ Manimekalai, the lovely daughter of the courtesan Madavi and 
Kov’alan, renounced her worldly life at an impressionable age, and overcame all 
temptations- She performed such mii-aculous works as inspired the poet 
Sattanar to compose an epic recording her life and career. 


338 The Silappadikaram [XXX. 22 

22-28 ‘At that time Madavi’s good mother' asked her 
daughter : “What is your intention? What am I to do?” 
Then Madavi called Manimekalai to her, saying : “Come 
here, my dear modest daughter,” and removed her locks" 
with the flower-wreaths thereon, thus making the 
bodiless god fling to the bare ground his flower dart and 
his bow of sugarcane. She was admitted to the Bud- 
dhist Sangha to follow their dharma. 

29“37 ‘When the king and his citizens heard this they felt 
as sorry as one who had dropped a priceless gem into the 
deep sea. The well-spoken saint'"' said very kindy : “ The 
lovely girl expressed to me her wish for renunciation.” 
Because that fair maiden changed her fair appearance 
despite her youthful age, I lamented.’ 

38-46 After speaking thus to the king, Devandikai became 
god-possessed,*' and the flower wreaths on her locks fell 
loose behind her ; her brows began to quiver ; her coral 
lips shut to ; her white teeth were set in a strange smile ; 
her words were not normal ; her lovely face perspired ; 
her fair eyes reddened and her hands were lifted up in a 
threatening manner. Then she moved her legs and rose 
from her seat. Unrecognized by many was her under- 
standing. She was in a state of bewilderment. With! 
parched tongue she spoke inspired words before the king 
of the blossoming kurinji region. 

47—58 ‘Among the modest, good, and beautiful womenfolk 
who have come here to see the installation of this goddess, 
there are the twin girls born to the handsome wife of 
Arattan Setti, as also the little daughter of :Sedak- 

^ The name of MMavi's mother was Citrapati. Slie reproached Madavi 
fur having failed in her duty, of initiating Manimekalai into the art of 

® The Buddhist hhikswii was expected to cast off all Ikt adornments and 
shave her head. See above, canto xxvii, IL 107-8. 

® The saint under reference is Aravana Adigal. See S. K. Aiyangar’s 
ManimeJzalai iti iis Historical Setting, pp. 221-30. 

^ It was the god Sattan who entered into the person of Devandikai and 
served as the medium between the god and man. 

XXX. 59 j Varantarukadai 339 

ku^umbi,* engaged in the service of the Lord reposing 
upon the Divine Serpent in the Golden Temple (Adaka- 
madam). Near the temple of Mangala-Devi" there is 
a sky-high hill on the red crests of which stands a big 
bow-like rock with many pools. From their midst issues 
forth water, with white stones like small mustard seeds, 
and red stones resembling mumkku flowers which seem 
like dissolved rice flour. 

‘As those who bathe in those pools will gather know- 59-70 
ledge of their past births, P brought that water and handed 
it over to you, O Brahmana Madalan, when you were sit- 
ting at the portal of that temple and said : “Receive this. 

It is meant that you should preserve it. Are you not 
keeping it in that pot within your string-bag (uri) in your 
hand As that water will not lose its divine quality so long 
as the sun and the moon exist, if you now sprinkle it upon 
these three little girls you will find them remembering their 
past births. Know me to be Pasandan,‘‘ appearing within 
the person of this Brahmana lady.’’ ’ 

At this ^enguttuvan was lost in wonder, and turned 71—87 
towards Madalan when he said with good cheer : ‘Hear 
this, O king 1 Let all your ills disappear. Lady Malati 
once offered milk to the child of her co-wife when fate 
pursued her and death cut short its life. Mourning incon- 
solably, and utterly downcast for the child, she prostrated 
herself, asking for grace, before Pasandan (Aattan) who 

^ A member of the ircaka community. 

^ Dr Swaminatha Aiyar in a note says that the allusion is to Kannaki. 
Pandit Raghava Aiyangar examines this and locates the place as the Durga 
temple in the village Mangalam, some nine miles to the north-west of 
Vrddachalam {Cetaij Senguttiivan, p. 8, n. 2). It is interesting to note the 
name Mangaladcviamman occurring in an epigraph (Kp. Rep, 420 of 1907) to 
whom the king of Kerala assigns certain lands as gifts. 

° I, referred to above, stands for Sattan. 

* See above, canto ix, 1. 15, where the term pasan^aHattan occurs. 

In the light of this passage it is reasonable to assume that the word Fasandan 
stands for the god Sattan. 

340 The Silappadikaram [XXX. 88 

came to her in the form of her child^ and said ; “ Mother, 
give up your great grief” and removed her affliction. 
He who performed this miracle (Rattan), grew up well 
tended under the fostering care of his mother (Malati) 
and her co-wife in the ancient family of the Kappiyas." He 
then married Devandikai by going round the fire. And 
after living with her for eight years, he showed her his 
youthful divine form and disappearing said : “Come to 
my temple.”" 

88—95 ‘When I was in the temple of Mangala-Devi, this 
god appeared before me in the form of a Brahmana and 
gave me this string-bag with the pot in it and asking me 
to keep it safe, went away. But he never appeared before 
me again. I took it away with me. Just now, the All- 
Wise appeared in the pei'son of the Brahmana lady and 
said to me : “Sprinkle that water.” O king, let us, there- 
fore, sprinkle it over these damsels and know the truth.’ 

96-103 When he had thus sprinkled it, the knowledge of their 
previous births up in their minds and (the mother of 
Kannaki) began to sob thus;' ‘O my daughter, O my 
helpmate ! Without even caring for me who sympathized with 
you because your celebrated husband misbehaved towards 
you, you v^ent to an alien city alone but for the company 
of your husband, and suffered exceeding trouble. O my 
dearest ! Will you not come and relieve me of my great 
sorrow ?’ 

’■The account smacks of mythologjc It is said that God Himself came 
to Malati in the form of her deceased child, grew up in her house, wUvS 

married, and after a brief period as a householder, returned to His shrine. 

® Dr Svvaminatha Aiyar identifies Klippiyakkudi with a village south-east of 
Shfyali. Pandit M. Raghava Aiyangar is of opinion that the reference is 
to the family of Kappiyas, perhaps Kavyagotra. If the latter construction 

be accepted, we are reminded of the grammatical treatise Tolkappiyam whose 
author was evidently a Kappiyanar, a member of the family or gdfra of that 

® Sec, for details, canto ix, 11. 5-36. 

* The mother of Karujaki, now born as one of the twin daughters of 

Arattan SettL 

XXX. 104] Varantarukadai 341 

Another (the mother of Kovalan) said.^ ‘O, you be- 104-107 
took yourself away in the dead of night alone and in 
misery, with my good daughter-in-law staying with me. 

Grieving over your departure, I began to rave. I can 
no more endure this. Will you not come to me, my son?’ 

The third (Madari) said T left for the bathing ghat 108-111 

of the Vaigai of fresh floods. When I came back I heard 
(the news) from the youngsters of the famous ancient city. 

I did not see you in my house. O my dear, my dear, 
where have you hidden yourself?’ 

In this manner the three young bangled girls with 1 12-135 
lisping mouths, lamented again and again and sobbed 
and wept, uttering their elders’ words before the warlike 
king with golden jewels on his chest. When the king of the 
pondai garland and victorious anklet looked at the face of 
Madalan, the Brahmana wearing the sacred thread on his 
chest, he blessed him : ‘O king of kings, long may you live 1 ’ 
and spoke what he remembered : ‘These three were, in pre- 
vious births, much attached to the devoted wife of Kovalan 
who seized the must elephant’s tusk to release (from its 
clutches) .a Brahmana suffering deep sorrow, and thus attain- 
ed the form of a celestial ; but they could not follow her to 
the other world as they had performed no other act of 
virtue. Because of their excessive attachment born of 
heartfelt love towards the lovely lady (Kannaki) like 
the golden creeper, who fearlessly approached this ancient 
great city of Vanji, these two were born® as twins, to the 
great satisfaction of the good and modest wife of Arattan 
^etti ; and this elderly cowherdess (Madari) who in her 
previous birth was devoted to the charming lady (Kannaki) 

^ The mother of Kovalan, born now ns one of the twin daugliters of 
Arattan Setti 

2 Madari, the cowherdess, now born as the daughter of a Brahmana 

^ Here the poet brings out the great Hindu ideal that detachment and 
not attachment leads to salvation with no more rebirths, 


The Silappadikaram [XXX. 136 

and performed a kuravai dance has now been born as the 
little daughter of Sedakkudumbi in the service of Lord 

136-140 ‘It is not strange that people who do good things 

attain heaven and people who have worldly minds are 
re-born, and that good and bad deeds have their 
own reward and that those born should die, and 

those dead should be re-born. Those are ancient 

141-146 ‘You who were born through the grace of Him who 
rides on the sacred Bull" and have won distinction as a 

king in this wide world, saw, clear as an object held 

in the palm of your hand, the fruits of righteous deeds 
and the forms of holy people. Live long from aeon 

to aeon protecting the earth ! Live long, gracious 

1 47- 1 54 Pleased with what the Brahmana Madalan said, the 

king endowed ‘ grants to the temple of the ever -youthful 
Pattini who had twisted off her breast and thereby raised 
flames which enveloped the noisy kudal of the great 
Pandyan kingdom, much celebrated in poetical themes. 
He further ordered the conduct of daily festivals by in- 
structing Devandikai to offer flowers, perfume and 

The monarch of the world cir cum, ambulated the shrine 
thrice and stood proffering his respects. In front of 
him the Arya kings'’ released from prison, kings removed® 

^ The kuravai dance is sacred to Vis^u and hence Madari was born in 
a famil}' devoted to the service of Visnu. 

® The great truth that was taught by Krsna on the battlefield of Kuril- 
ksetra to Arjuna. The Gita says : 

Jatasya hi dhruvo mrtyuh dhruvam janma mrtasya ca, 

^ Another statement to testify that Senguttuvan’s religion was Saivism. 

* The evidence of epigraphy shows that this custom of endowing temples 
was practised by all Hindu kings in all periods of Indian history. 

® The Arya kings are Kanaka and Vijaya, 

® Cf. A.SJ.y 1905-6, p. 170, 

XXX. 165] Varantarukadai 343 

from the central jail, the Kongu ruler of the Kudagxi, the 
king of Malva and Kayavagu (Gajahahu)," the king of 
sea-girt Ceylon, prayed reverentially to the deity thus : 

‘Please grace our countries by your presence just as vou 
have done this auspicious day, a fete-day at Imayavaram- 
ban’s sacrifice.’ Then a voice from the welkin issued 
forth : ‘I have granted the boon.’ 

At this Senguttuvan, the other kings and their valorous ^65-182 
armies praised the deity in pregnant words as if they had 
gained salvation (vldu).^ Then with the seeker of truth, 
Brahmana Madalan, and with kings of low-sounding 
anklets who bowed at his feet, ^enguttuvan entered the 
sacrificial hall.^ T also went in. Afterwards Devandikai 
stood up before me god-possessed. She came to me, 
and said : ‘In the artistic Audience Hall of the ancient 
city of Vanji, when you were seated by your father’s 
side, you frowned upon the astrologer who predicted 
indications of your succeeding to the throne, so as to 
relieve the affliction of Senguttuvan famous for his 
chariot* forces and his fragrant kongu garland. You then 
went away to the Gunavayirkottam® and standing before 
eminent saints (paiiydr) you renounced all thought of the 
burdens of this earth in order to secure the kingship of 

^ Here is evidence that Gajabahu introduced the Pattini cult into Ceylon 
and this cannot be untrue as we are still able to trace remains of this cult to- 
day. See Appendix iv. 

^ Vidu stands for mok^a in Sanskrit. 

® This is definite evidence that Senguttuvan was a follower of the VMic 
religion. The following line throws welcome light on the personal religion of 
Pangd-Adigal also. If he had been converted to the Jaina faith he would not 
have attended the sacrifices performed according to VMic rules, with the help 
of the Vedic Brahmanas. 

^ I stands for the author, Ilango-Adigal. 

® We have to understand that Senguttuvan had not only a powerful elephant 
corps but also a strong chariot force. 

® The story of how Ilango-Adigal became an ascetic is told by Pattini whose 
spirit is said to have entered Devandikai, 

344 The Silappadikaram [XXX. 183 

the vast realm afar -off and of eternal bliss, incapable of 
approach by even the faculty of reason.^ 

183-202 ‘O distinguished and good people, you have now 
heard with distinctness the auspicious and benevolent 
words of the daughter of the gods (Kannaki) who pro- 
claimed my story (through Devandikai). Rise above pleasure 
and pain in accordance with the approved course of conduct.^ 
Know God, and serve those who have known Him. 
Fear speaking falsehood. Avoid tale-bearing. Refrain 
from meat-eating and abjure injury to any living being. 
Give gifts and perform the prescribed penances. Do not 
forget the good done to you. Despise bad friendship. Do 
not give false evidence, and never depart from words of 
truth. Do not fail to join assemblies of people learned in 
dharma. Strive ever to escape the meeting-places of the 

‘Avoid other people’s waves, and give succour to 
those who are dying. Protect the household virtues, but 
reject what is bad. Abstain immediately from drinking, 
theft, lust, falsehood and useless company. Youth, wealth 
and the body are impermanent.” You cannot escape from 
the days allotted to you : nor can you avoid what will 
happen. So seek the best help to the land of youi final 
destination (Heaven). Do all this, O dw^ellers on this 
wide prosperous earth.’ 

^ These lines seem to be at once a reproduction of the great philosophic 
truth where occur the following : 

irtT I 1 

Taift. Aran. S. 4. t and 8. 9. i. 

Taitt. Up. 2. 4. I and 2. g. i. 

^ This line and the following are a categorical list of dharnias to be 
observed by all persons irrespective of caste or creed. This the Hindus call 
Sanatana Dhanna — what wo may term the ethical aspect of Hinduism. 
This portion of the canto shows strong influence of the teaching of the KuzaL 
® The fundamental teaching of Hinduism is that nothing goes with the 
dying man except his righteous or unrighteous deeds, 




0£ the three crowned monarchs, the g-arlanded ruler 
eng-Littuvanj of the western kingdom of undiminished 
glory was born in the line of the Ceras. His virtue , 
martial valour and achievements, the glory of his ancient 
flourishing city, its gorgeous, unceasing festivals and the 
appearance of Devas, the wealth of the subjects abiding 
in his kingdom of unceasing prosperity, their abundance of 
provisions, songs and dances with their well-defined inter- 
relationships, his army of sword- warriors who achieved 
decisive victory in battles by righteous methods, his success 
in pursuing the enemy (at a long distance) in the expansive 
foaming sea,^ and his expedition to the banks of the holy 

Gang'es all these deeds which form a part^ of his career, 

are narrated in the Vanjikkandam. 

^ Xhis shows that SengutW^an had an equally formidable naval force. 

® The author here ncknow’edges that a part of the career of the Cera 

monarch is given. He did nut furnish a full account of his life as the contents 
did not warrant it. 


The Silappadikaram 



So ends the Silappadikaram, which really ends with the 
contents of the story in the Manmiekalai^ . In the manner 
in which lofty hills are reflected in a mirror, it expresses 
the essence of the cool Tamil country bounded^ by the 
Kumari, Veng*adam and the eastern and western seas, in 
its two quarters of pure and impure XamiP comprising- the 
five regions {tinais) where dwell men and gods devoted to duty 
and to the common practice'^ of dharma, artha, and kdma ; 
and it deals in chaste language expressive of good sense 
in flawless rythm, with aham (love) and pur am (war)*'^, and 
with worthy songs {pdbaT), pan, pdni, arangu/ 

uilakku, and adaV and other things which were in 
conformity with established rules o£ the well-known forms 
of ^ari, ktcrauai and sedam^ couched in perfect and 
understandable Tamil. 

^ The epic ^lafjhnchalai is a continuation of the Silappadiharam. 

® For the boundary limits of Tantilagctiyi see V%rai6liyam. Kumari is 
Cape Comorin and Vengadam the Tirupati Hills. 

^ Two kinds of Tamil were In vogue. 

The Silappadth/iram is itself a treatise on the Trivavga which is dharma, 
artha and hama, 

® This presupposes a period when anthologies of the Aham. and Piizam. 
have been collected under different heads and used as books. 

® Klal is another term for yid7. 

Arangu is drama- 

® represents different kinds of dances. 

® Sedam according to the 'Tamil I^exicon an element in flancing. It 

may perhaps refer to the Kotticcedam. 


Appendix I 


Below is g’iven a transliteration of Canto iv, ‘Antimalai- 
ssirappucceykadai’ . This canto has been chosen at 
random to show roughly the percentage of Sanskrit words 
in the text. The Sanskrit words in this canto are all 
italicized for the sake of easy reference. A counting of 
the total words in the canto furnishes the number 288. 
Out of these, thirty-two, or eleven per cent, are Sanskrit 
words. In other words, for every eight Tamil words we 
meet with one Sanskrit word. Sanskrit expressions form 
one-ninth of the text. This shows clearly that the author 
of the Silappadikdram lived centuries before the authors 
of the Tevdram and Divyappirahandam in which the per- 
centage of Sanskrit words is very much higher. We know 
definitely that these were compositions extending from the 
fifth to the tenth century a.d., and it is reasonable to 
assume that the Silappadikdram must have been composed 
very much earlier than the fifth century a.d. As it would 
take some considerable length of time to raise the per- 
centage of Sanskrit words from 1 1 per cent to 30 per cent, 
we cannot be far wrong if we assign the composition of the 
epic to the second century a.d. 


Virikadir parappi yulakarnnhi tanda 
Vorudanit tikiri yurav 5 r kane 
Nankan vanat taninila virikkun 
Tingalah selvan yandulan kollenat 
Tisaimukam pasantu semmalark kankan 
Mulunir vara mulumeyum panittut 
Tiraini ratai yirunila madantai 



l^he Silappadikaram 






Varaisukec^ut taiamvaru mallar kalaik 
Karaikelu kuclig-al kaidalai vaippa 
Varaipoku kudikalo dorutiram parri 
V alampadu tanai manna rilvalip 
Pulampata virutta viruntin mannarir 
Raltunai turantor tanittuya reytak 
Kladalarp punarntor kalimakil veytak 
Kulalvalar mullaiyir kovalardammodu 
Malalait tumbi vayvait tuda 
Varukar kurumperin tarumbupodi 'vdsa-n 
^irukar selvan marukir rurra 
Velvalai makalir mawivilak kedtippa 
Malian mudur malaivan tiruttena 
Vilaiya rayinum pakaiyai'asu kadiyufi 
^eruman tennar fettZamuda lakali 
Nandi vanattu venpirai ton rip 
Punkan malaik kurumperin tottip 
Paijmayir ririyatu parkadir parappi 
M Inara sa^ida velli vilakkat 
TL'ilvalar mullaiyodu inallikai yavilnda 
Palpun sekkaip palliyut polintu 
^endukirk kovai senren talku 
Lantukin nnekalai yasaintana varunda 
Nilavuppayan kollu nedunila murrattuk 
Kalaviyum pulaviyum kadalar kajlttang' 
Karva nencamodu kovalar ketirik 
Kolan konda rnddavi yanriyun 
Kudatisai mar unkin Vellayir tannodu 
Ku-naiisai marunkir karaki rurantu 
Vadamalaip piranda vankel vattattut 
Tenmal,aip piranda ca-ndana marukat 
Td'tnaraik kolumurit ZaZttpadu selumalark 
Kamaru kuvalaik kalunlr mamalarp 
Paindalirp padalai parukka Idran 
Sundarassunnaf tukalodu malaiyic 
Cindupu parinda selumpun sekkai 



Appendix I 

Mandama rutattu mayankinar malintang 
Kaviyan koluna rakalat totunkik 
Kaviyan kannar kalittuyileyta 
Vancen sira<£ yanisilam poliya 
Menruki lalkim mekalai nlngak 
Konkai munrir kunkuma melutan 
M angola vaniyir Piritani makilal 
Kodunkulai turandu vadinduvil kadina 
Tingal vanmukan siruviyar piriyac 
Cenkaya nedunka nancana marappap 
Pavala vanuta rilaka milappat 
Tavala vapakai kovala nilappa 
Maiyirun kunda neyyani marappak 
Kaiyaru nencattuk kannaki yanriyum 
Kadalarp pirinda matar nodaka 
Vutulaik kuruki nuyirttana rodungi 
Venir palli mevadu kalindu 
Kudirppallik kurunka nataittu 
Malay attar amii manimut tdranm 
Malarmulai yakat tadaiyadu varundat 
Tajik kuvalaiyodu tansen kalunlr 
Vilpun cekkai mevadu kaliyat 
Tunaipuna rannat tuviyir seritta 
Vinaiyanai mempatat tirundutuyil pera 
Tudaipperun kolunaro dudar hdlat 
Tidaikkumi lerindu kadaikkulai yottik 
Kalanka vu|lam kalankak kadaisivantu 
Vilankinimir nedunkan pulambumut turaippa 
Vanna mennadai nannirp poykai 
Yamba narun tempodi naruvirait 
Tdmarais sevvayat tannarar kundar 
Panvay vandu nodiram padak 
Kanvaru kuvataik kanmalar vilippap 
Pulvay murasa modu porimayir varanattu 
Mulvays sanka muraimurai yarppa 
Vuravunirp parappi nurtuyi le^uppi 








352 The Silappadikaram 

8o Yiravut talaippeyarum vaikarai karu 
Maraiyirul yamatUim pakalum tuncar 
Viraimalar valiyoclu karuppuvil lendi 
Makara velkodi maindan riritara 
Nakaran kava nanisiran tatuven. 


(F voni Divyappirahandni}!) 

1 Pukalum nal oruvanenko ? Poruvilsirp puviiy&nViO? 
T ikalum tanpar avaiy enko ? Tiy enko ? V ay rtvenko ? 
Nikalum akasamer^o? Nilsudanrandumenko ? 
Ikalvil ivvanaittumenko ? i^aw'yanaikkuvumare 

2 Kuvumarariyamatten kunrankalanaittumenko ? 
Mevusirmarlyenko ? vilankuiamfeaifeaZenko ? 

Naviyal kalaikalenk.o ? /-Kananallaviyenko ? 
Pavuslrkkawwaw eraman Pankayahkannanaiye 

3 Pankayakkannanenk.o ? Pavalaccevvayanenko ? 

A nkadiratiyanenko ? Ancanavannenenko ? 
^enkadirmudiyanenko ? Tirumarumarvaneriko ? 

S anhucahkaratlan&nko ? Cathnanikhattaiye. 

4 Cdiimdnikkamenko ? cavikolpon mitddamenko ? 
CdtinalvayirameiA^Q ? Tavivilsirvilakkamenko ? 

A diyam codienko ? ddiyain Puradanenko ? 

Adumil kdlaiendai acciitan amalanaiye . 

5 Accutanamalanenko? adiyavarvinaikedukkuiri 
Naccumamarundamenko ? nalankadala»z.ttda7?jenko ? 
Accuvaikkattiyenko ? arusuvaiyadisilenko ? 
Neyccuvaitteralenko ? kaniyenko ? Palenkeno ? 

6 Palenko? nanku-uedap^^a^/awenko ? Samayanlti 
Niilenko? Nudangxikel viisaiyenko ? Ivarrulnalla 
Melanko? vinaiyin mikka^ayawenko ? kannanenko? 
Malenko ? mdyanenko ? vanavarddz aiyye. 

7 VanavaradZ^/enko ? Vanavardawawenko ? 
Yanavabhdgamenko ? vanavaramurrumenko ? 
Unamiiselvamenko ? unamilittT^ar^awenko ? 

Unamil mokhamenko? Olimanivannanaiye. 


Appendix I 

Olimanivannanenk.o ? oruva.nenrettaninra 8 

Nalir.amaticcffda'i^/awenko ? nanwxitfeakkadavulenko ? 
AjiiTiakijandu ulaka^jiellam pataitta vaiyetta ninra 
Kalimalartf uZax)a« emman kannanalmayanaiye.<. kadalkadaintu amtidamkonda g 

Annalai acciitanai anaiitanai, anantantanmel 
N anninankuraikinranai jnalamundumijnda malai 
Ennumaru ariyamatten yavaiyum yavarumtane. 

Yavaiyum yavarumtanay avaravariawayawtorum lo 

Toy vilanpulanaintukkum solappadan unarvin murti 
Aviseruyirinullal adumor parrilada 
Pa-yawaiyadanaikkudii avanaiyum kudalame. 
Kudivandaraiyum tantark kondalpol vannantannai i j 

MadalarpoUl kurukur van Sadagopan sonna 
Padalorayirattul Ivaiyum orupattumvallar 
Vidila bdgaynaiti virumpuvar a^zararmoyaitte. 


Appendix II 


In commenting on the first three lines of Canto x of 
the Silappadikdram , Adiyarkkunallar furnishes some 
interesting astronomical data as to the commencement and 
duration of Indra’s festival, the sea reverie of Kovalan and 
Madavi, and the date on which Kdvalan and Kannaki 
left Puhar for Madura. The texts in question give only a 
hint as to the time of starting for Madura ; but collecting 
the details as given in the Manimekalai, and in ‘Kac^aladu- 
kadai’, Adiyarkkunallar has done some valuable research 
which deserves our close examination and scrutiny. As I 
have remarked in the footnote on the three opening lines 
of Canto X, the late L. D. Swamikannu Pillai put the date 
to severe test and came to the conclusion that the premises 
were incorrect. I felt the subject required further investi- 
gation, and with the aid of my friend Mr P. R. Chidam- 
bara Aiyar of the Kodaikanal Observatory, I have been 
able to arrive at a more or less satisfactory conclusion. 

Let me first state what A^yarkkunallar has to say. 
The full moon day in the month of Cittirai, during which 
the festival of Indra commenced, fell on a Saturday. The 
festival was celebrated for four weeks. It ended on the 
twenty-eighth day of the month of Vaikdsi during the sea 
reverie when Kovalan suspected Madavi ’s attitude towards 
him and vice versa. This resulted in their misunderstanding 
and consequent separation. According to A(^iyarkkunal- 
lar’s calculation, this day of misunderstanding (udutaT) 
was a Monday, the thirteenth tithi of Purvapaksa when 
the ruling asterism was Anusa. The very next day, i.e. 
the twenty-ninth day of Vaikdsi (which was a Tuesday and 
the fourteenth tithi of the Purvapaksa) , during the asterism 

Appendix II 355 

K.ettai, very early in the morning", before the sun rose 
but -when the moon had disappeared, Kovalan and 
Kannaki set forth for iVIadura. Adiyarkkunallar remarks 
that that was a particularly inauspicious time and 
led to the death of those who started at that particular 

In a later Canto" Adiyarkkunallar tells us in an informing 
note that the very day when the outskirts of IMadura were 
reached by Kovalan and Kannaki w^as the last day of 
the month of Ani. As we have already seen, according 
to that commentator the couple left Puhar for Madura on the 
29th of Vaikdsi, and if his calculation is to be believed, 
it took a full month and a little more for the travellers to 
reach Madura. If they had started on the 29th of Vaikdsi 
which was a Tuesday, and if they reached the outskirts 
on the last day of Ani, then it must have been a Thursday. 
We hear in a still later Canto" that Madura was destroyed 
by fire on a day of Bharani-Krttikai, Astami during the 
dark fortnight in the month of Adi, on a Friday about mid- 
night. An attempt has been made, rightly, to reject Mr 
Swamikannu Pillai’s theory of 756 A.c. ; for, his calcula- 
tions do not seem to satisfy any of the data furnished either 
by the text or the commentary. ‘ Evidently the burning 
of Madura took place on the first of Adi which w^as a 
Friday. On the last day of Ani, they were Madari’s 
guests for the day and in the evening Kovalan went with 
the anklet into the city and was executed. Immediately 
Kannaki met the king and cursed that the city be con- 
sumed by flames. 

While we are discussing the date of the Silappadikdram 
from an astronomical viewpoint, it is better to say a word 

See also his commentary on Ih 5-6 ‘Ka^aladukadaih 
® xiii, ‘Purahceriiruttakadai’, IL 30-7, and especially 1 . 36. 

® xxiii, II. 133-7. 

* See K. G. Sankar’s article in Vol. VIII> pp. 34-60. But his 

theory of 157 a.c. also does not cover all astronomical details. 

35^ Silappadikaram 

about the reference to Friday in the epic. Years ago 
when Indological researches were in their infancy, Dr 
Fleet suggested that India borrowed weekdays from 
Greece about a.o. 400 and put them to popular use not 
earlier than a.d. 800. Granting that India is a borrower 
in this respect, she need not necessarily be indebted to the 
Greeks who were themselves borrowers and perhaps had 
no knowledge of weekdays before the first century a.d, A 
more reasonable suggestion would be that borrowing had 
taken place direct from the Chaldeans whose intercourse 
with India from at least the time of Darius (500 B.c.) can- 
not be disputed. The use of weekdays in ancient Hindu 
literature is not rare. The Pur anas, like the Matsya (ch. 
93, IL 10-20) and Visnu (Bk. I, ch. 12), refer to planets in 
the order of weekdays. The Vaikhanasa suira, which can- 
not be later than the second century b.c., mentions the 
Buclhavdra. Besides, we perform the arghyani every day 
in weekday order during our sandhya prayers. This has to 
be traced to the Parisistas of Asvaldyana Grhyastitra, It 
may be contended that the Parisistas are held to be later 
than the texts of the Grhyasutra. Even if this position were 
accepted, that portion cannot be later than by one or two 
centuries. These facts, among others, show the ancient 
use of weekdays in the Hindu calendar and the reference 
to Friday cannot be taken as an argument to assign a later 
date for the composition. 

Proceeding' to work upon the data given by Adiyark- 
kunallar, and by bringing the evidence of the Gajabahu 
synchronism to clinch it, we find the year a.d. 174 answers 
nearly perfectly. In this year the first of Cittirai was 
a Tuesday, and would be 16 March in the Gregorian 
calendar. The following table may clarify our position : 

Appendix II 


174 A.D. 

1st Cittirai = 16 March (Tuesday) 

First new moon in the 
year = 4-7997 


from new 

20.7997 March (Satur 

moon to 

new moon = 



Days in the month = 


First new moon in 
Vaikasi = 




Interval to full moon = 




Days in the month = 30 

Full moon day (May) = 4.0956 (Tuesday) in 


This Tuesday the fourth of May in a.d. 174 coincides 
with KMtai naksatram in the early morning". What we 
have to note here is that Paurnima and not Caturdasi ends 
early in the forenoon on Tuesday. There is the Kettai 
naksatram before sunrise on* that day. In questions of 
chronology from an astronimical standpoint, there is bound 
to be a certain amount of uncertainty. This is largely 
due to the different Siddhantas or systems followed by 
different schools of thought, such as the Suryasiddhanta, 
the Aryasiddhanta, Vdkya, etc. What system was in use 
in the age of Ilango-Adigal, the author of the epic, it is 
rather difficult to determine. But for our purpose, there 

^ If we substract the interval in tithi 14.7653 from 19*3303, we get 4.5650, 
when occurred the full moon in April, on a Sunday. 

358 The Silappadikaram 

is indicated the astronomical fact that on the early morn- 
ing in question the moon had set before the sun rose, 
although it is difficult to know, in the absence of accurate 
data, what was the actual interval between the setting of 
the moon and the rising of the sun. 

As to whether sawramana or cdndramana was in vogue 
at the time, there is no room for doubt, since the word 
Cittirai (which is the one used by Adiyarkkunallar) has always 
meant the solar month, the corresponding lunar month 
being known as Caitra. As the text of Adiyarkkunallar is 
clear in the use of the expression Cittirai and not Caitra, 
it can be easily conceded that the commentator used the 
sauramdna method of reckoning. T am aware that we 
should not rely entirely on the astronomical combination as 
evidence in itself. For the argument is that, as the event 
took place at a particular time of day when a particular 
astronomical combination was prevailing, a certain number 
of cycles of the moon in its two aspects, viz. tithi and 
naksatra, must coincide with a certain number of revolutions 
of the sun, along with a certain number of weeks, and 
multiples of the hours in a day. This will be the L.C.M. 
of the sidereal period of the moon, the synodic period of 
the moon, the solar year, the week, the hours in a day. 
As one is not divisible by the other, roughly the product 
of all these quantities has to be taken to be the period that 
would elapse before the same tithi and naksatra on the 
same day of the week could be expected to occur again 
at that particular hour of the day in that particular part of 
the year. This can by no means be a short period. This 
parti cualr case, one may say, would only recur after 
some centuries. We can therefore easily set aside 756 a.c. 
fixed by the late Swamikannu Pillai. 

My object in examining the data furnished by Adiyark- 
kunallar was to see whether it would supplement other 
^tiferable historical facts which have led us to fix the age 
of the composition of the Silappadikaram in the second 

Appendix II 359 

half of the second century a.jd. Our ex^amination has 
proved beyond doubt that the astronomical data given 
by Adiy^kkunallar are very strong' contributory evidence 
for fixing the date as the second century a.o. The details 
furnished by the commentator fit in with the year a.d. 
174, and this date fully satisfies the Gajabahu synchron- 
ism as Gajabahu had ascended the throne three years 
earlier in a.o. 171. 

Appei^jdix hi 


The ancient Tamils possessed a hig-hly developed system 
of music. This is evident from a perusal of the Tamil 
classics- Their musical culture was at a high level. 
^A/orks dealing exclusively with the science of music were 
written during the ^angam period, but they were lost long 
ago. The Silappadikdrani of the second century a.d. 
throws a flood of light on the music of the Tamils. Music 
in Tamil nomenclature is isai. An etymolog'ical inter- 
pretation is furnished by Adiyarkkunallar in the closing 
lines of his elaborate commentary on Canto iii, 1. 26.^ 

Those who practised music were styled Pd%iar and some- 
times Perumpanar , These expressions occur frequently 
in the epic. There was ,a community, which included flutists 
and drummers, whose hereditary occupation was music. 
Even a section of Brahm.anas and Ambanavar took to 
music as a profession. We get more interesting 
details of if we turn to Adiyarkkunallarks gloss to 

11 . 160-7 of Canto xiv. Four divisions of pci'^^ we^re 
distinguished- These are PdXai, Kiirinji ^ ]\d ar'udam and 

Se'vrDoliy suggesting at once a classification after the regions, 
in other words, specific melody types. The different 
musical pieces were brought under some classification or 
other. One classification was tenfold : senturai , Tjenturai, 
perunide 7 )apd'iii, sir/tideuapani^ mtittakani, peruroa^nnam, 
arrinjarij hd'nal/vari j 'virimziran , and talaipd^ti'^yia'ndilarn,^ 
Almost all these pieces of music are found referred to 

^ I am indeX:>ted to Sri P, Sainbamurti, JCecturer in Music, University of 
Madras, for helping me in writing this appendix. I liave also drawn upon 
two lectures on ‘Ancient Tamil Music’ by .Swami V’'ipulananda, reported 
in The Hindu on 25 and 26 February 1036. 

® p. 105 of the Tamil edition. 

® This is found in Silcandiyar’s I^airtidntikkafrt ^ See text, p. 190. 

AiDpendix III 361 

directly or indirectly in the epic. For example, senturai 
and venturai are implied in Canto hi, 1. 29. Perumdeva- 
pdni and sirudevapdni are used in ordinary music as also 
in ndtakat-tamil or dramatic compositions. While perum- 
devapani is used in praise o£ Baladeva, sirudevapdni was 
used in praise of caste butas.‘ Examples of drruvari are 
the three songs on the Kaveri in Canto vii. The whole 
of Canto vii is entitled ‘Kanalvari’. This epic helps us 
to understand the nature of their fundamental scale, the 
resultant scales that they obtained by the modal shift of 
tonic, the rdgas that they used, the musical forms in vogaie 
at that time, the instruments that they used in concerts, 
the types of dances cultivated and many other useful details 
relating- to their art. 'Arangerrukadai’ and ‘Acciyarkuravai’ 
are t-wo cantos containing a mine of information relating to 
Tamil music. 

The 5uddha-mEla (fundamental scale) 

The ancient Tamils used a scale of twenty- two srutis. 
In other words they recognized and used as many as twenty- 
two notes in the sthdyi or octave. This is exactly the 
number of notes that a refined ear can distinguish and use 
in a saptaha. The terms alaku and mdtra 

are used as the equivalent of sruti. It was the 
scale of just intonation that they used. The notes of 
their foundation scale (hiddha-meh) had the following 
sruti values : 


The figure 4 is the equivalent of a catussruti interval 
(9/8, major tone) ; the figure 3 is the equivalent of a 
trisruti interval (10/9 minor tone) ; and the figure 2 is the 
equivalent of dvisruti interval (16/15, semitone). In the 
series ; 4 4 3 2 4 3 2, each figure signifies the 
value of the interval between the note it stands for and 

^ Canto lii, 1, 107. 

362 The Silappadikaram 

its previous note. Thus in the stiddha scale of the ancient 
Tamils there were three cattissruti intervals (3 major tones), 
two trisrtiti intervals (2 minor tones) and two dvisruti 
intervals (2 semitones). There w'as a Catussruii interval 
between ni and sa (i.e. between tdram and kural), between 
sa and ri (i.e. between kural and tuft am), and between n't a 
and pa (i.e. between ulai and ili). There w^as a irisruti 
interval between ri and ga (i.e. between iuttam and kaik- 
kilai) and between pa and dha (i.e. between ili and vilart). 
The dvih-uti interval existed between ga and via (i.e. 
between kaikkilai and ulai) and between dJia and wz (i.e. 
between vilari and tdram). That is expressed in modern 
terminology thus : 




caiussruti catussruii 
interval interval 

t X 











1 0 

1 6 



T 0 

1 6 












1 6 w 9 

TK *5- X' 

ip_ V iS- 

= 2 

In other words, the frequencies of the notes fig-uring 
in the suddha scale were : 

s r g m p dha n s 

T 9 .*5 -t S T 1. 6 

Representing these facts in a more visual manner, the 
svarastJidnas of the Tamil suddha scale will appear in the 
following places : 

ni sa ri ga ma pa dha ni 

This scale approximates to the modern harikdmhhdji 
mela and so it follows that the suddha scale of the ancient 
Tamils was harikdmhhdji.^ 

Harikumhhoji takes the same notes as the major scale of European 
music except that B flat takes the place of B natural. 

Appendix III 363 

It is interesting to note that the snddlia scale of Bharata 

had the following h'uti values : 

4 3 “ 4 4 3 2 

It is evident from this that the tonic note of the Tamil 

scale was the fourth note or the madhyavm of the scale of 
Bharata. The fourth note of Bharata’s scale when taken 
as the tonic results in harikdmbhdji. We may say that 
the hcddha scale of the ancient Tamils was the madhyama 
murchana of sadja grama just as the modern sankardhharana 
is the nisada murchana of sadja grama. In other words, the 
hiddha sQ^ile of Bharata is the pancama murchama of the 
suddha scale. That harikdmhhdji is the suddha-mela of the 
ancient Tamils is a fact not hitherto noticed by many 
scholars. An analysis of pans reveals that a substantial 
number of them are in rdgas which are either derivatives 
of harikdmbhdji or are in rdgas which use a majority of 
svaras belonging to the harikdmbhoji scale. One merit 
of this scale is that the notes^ figuring therein can be sounded 
pure and that one can stand on them for a length of 
time. There are other interesting facts in support of 
harikdmbhdji. The following sloka gives the names of 
the animals and birds whose cries approximated to the 
pitch of the sapta svaras : 

qi'sf 1 

\ O ^ c 

^qcT qfifr fqqr? qsi: n 

Tamil books associate the following animals and birds 
with the sapta svaras : su<sssr(B (beetle), QeS (parrot), 

(horse), ujirSm (elephant), (cuckoo), 

(cow) and (goat). 

^ It is evident that these notes could not have belonged to one and the same 

364 The Silappadikaram 

The fact that the notes of the suddha scale were 
compared to the cries of certain animals and birds is proof 
that our ancients had a conception of absolute pitch. 

Name of the 












G.a 1 







I ndian nightingale 1 



Horse ’ 






A perusal of the above table reveals the fact that all 
except two are animals common to both lists. Since the 
sadja grama is the pancama murchana of the Tamil suddha 
scale, it will be found that the lists of animals and birds 
also agree in a corresponding manner except that the 
beetle and the parrot take the place of the heron and the 
cuckoo of the Sanskrit list. This list supplies more 
evidence to show that the suddJia scale of the Tamils was 
the harikdmhhoji .scale, viz. the madhyama murchana of 
the sadja grama. 

Rag AS 

By the modal shift of tonic, seven murchanas or scales 
were derived. They are named : cempdlai, padumalaip- 
pdlai, sevvalippdlai, arumpdlai, kddippdlai, vilarippdlai 
and mercempdlai. The initial ftonic) notes of these 
scales progress in the avardhana hraina (downward series). 
The use and application of the seven palais are seen in 
Canto hi, ii. 59-60 and 11. yo-i, and the commentary of 
Arumpadavuraiyasiriyar thereon. It is said that when 

Appendix III 365 

Madavi sang, she well observed the four satis : ahani- 
laimarudam, puranilaimarudavi, aruhiyanmarudam and 
perukiyanmarudam and had an eye to the threefold iyak- 
kam which may be rendered high, low, and middle pitch 
(Canto vii, 11 . 35-44). The distinction of alakiis or sriitis 
has been tabulated as follows *. 

Cempdlai ... 4 4 3 2 4 3 2 

Padumalaippdlai ... 2 443 243 

SewaUppdlai ... 3 2443 24 

Arumpdlai ... 4 3 24432 

Kddippdiai ... 2432443 

Vilarippdlai ... 3 243 244 

Mercempdlai ... 4 3 2 4 3 2 4 

Four main palais are referred to which correspond 
to derivative gramas, and fresh scales were derived by the 
process of modal shift of tonic in each case. Sampurna 
rdgas (heptatonic scales) were called pan and varja 

rdgas (transilient scales) tiram 

^slsinpiip msTihi-f tje^Oemssrsi 

(^ssipi6 p is/rLhi-j ^pOtjbesr<s Q<srrsrr<ss 

Tiram is also used in the sense of an audava rdga 
(pentatonic scale). Panniarriram signified a sodara rdga 
(hexatonic scale) and tirattiram signified a svarantara rdga 
(a scale with four notes). 

Instrumental music 

Music was always associated with dancing in ancient 
times. It is no wonder therefore that all the information 
we are given about ancient Tamil music is in connexion wdth 
the dances of Madavi and the group dance recounted in a 
later canto of the ^ilappadikdram . The treatment of 
music as a separate art, i.e. independent of its relation 
to dancing, is found only in later works. 

A remarkable feature of the education of an actress, 
which began in her fifth year, was a thorough training in 

366 I'lie Silappadikaram 

dancing and music. Among other things the young girl 
was trained to sing songs composed in foreign languages 
and to play on the ydl, the drum, and the flute. In 
addition to the drummer, lute player and flutist, there was 
the musician of honour or chief musician, and a composer 
of songs who improvised pieces suitable to all occasions. 
This bears great testimony to the creative mind of the 
composer. From the fact that a separate music master is 
mentioned we have to assume that this composer may or 
may not have been a musician himself, for it is said that 
verses composed by him were set to music by the musician. 
There is an elaborate description of the harpist and the 
harp in 11 . 70-94 of ‘ Arangerrukadai’ . The passage in 
question has been rendered difficult of correct interpretation 
by Adiyarkkunallar’s not commenting on these lines except 
to give a few short notes, most of which are copied from the 
commentary of Arumpadavuraiyasiriyar. But with the 
materials available, it seems fairly certain that sakddaydl 
was the kind of harp generally used on the stage by a 
debutante. It had fourteen major strings. The flute 

usually preceded the harp. In other words the song 
was started by the flutist and followed by the harpist. Then 
there was the beating of the maddalam, the kudamulavu 
and the idakkai, one following the other. Idakkai was a 
musical instrument used for keeping time. Sometimes one 
and the same song was played on the harp and the flute at 
one and the same time. 

Thus we see that instruments in those times 

were used for accompaniments. The three great instru- 
ments, viz. Vina, venu and mridangam, have their 

parallels in the ydl, kulal and maddalam of the Tamils. 

Since the range of the human voice was three octaves 
the compass of the stringed and wind instruments used for 
accompaniments was also of the same range. The three 
octaves were respectively called the mandavisai (lower 
octave or the niandra sthdyz), samanisai (middle octave or 

Appendix III 367 

the madhya sthayi) and vallisai (higher octave or the tdra 
sthdyt). The strings of the ydl were tuned to notes of 
absolute pitch and the instrument itself was played on 
open strings. It is evident that in addition to metallic 
strings of different varieties and thickness and density, gut 
must also have been used. Conclusions based solely on 
the lengths of the strings of the ydl in the absence of data 
relating to their nature, cross section, and density must 
necessarily be incorrect. The strings of the ydl were 
named after the notes to which they were tuned. This 
facilitated the playing of different rdgas by the modal shift 
of tonic. ^In the absence of facilities for the introduction 
of gdmakas, we have to conclude that the ydl produced 
only pure notes. The basic melody was played by the 
ydl player and the melody was adorned by gdviakas from 
the flute which also repeated the melody in the higher 
octave. In a medallion from the Amaravati sculpture 
preserved in the archaeological gallery of the Madras 
Government Museum we see a woman playing the ydl, 
indicating that the instrument was very popular dur- 
ing the time of the Silappadikdram and the centuries 
preceding it. 

Varieties o] Ydl. Mention has already been made of 
the sakddaydl which was usually a stage instrument. 
Among other kinds referred to are the periydl as opposed 
to siriydl. The first was a large harp consisting of 
twenty-one strings while the second was a small harp 
with seven strings. Among the different varieties of ydl, 
these two seem to be very ancient. But in the early 
centuries of the Christian era we find reference to makara- 
ydl distinguished by seventeen strings and sakodaydl 
with fourteen strings. These ydls or harps were early 
in use. Here and there we meet with descriptions of 
them and of how they were sometimes inlaid with 
gems and kept in decorated cases. In other ^angam 
classics, like the Porunardrruppadai, Malaipaduka- 

368 iDhe Silappadikaram 

dam and Kalladam, we find descriptions of jojZ. One 
gathers from all these that the periyal was a pretty instru- 
ment and was portable. Its twenty-one strings represent- 
ed the three sthdyis of seven notes each. 

The ydl and the vlna are not identical instruments. 
The former had no frets. The term vlna has been used 
by some writers to mean stringed instruments generally 
but latterly it has come to denote a stringed instrument 
with frets. Manikkavasakar says : isff&asnutr 

luir^ssnr and SO it is clear that there were two 

distinct instruments. The ydl was a majestic and beautiful 
instrument and must have produced impressive ^s-nd melo- 
dious music. It became obsolete some eight centuries 
ago. It ceased to be in use the moment the fretted vlna 
with its great musical possibilities appeared on the firma- 
ment of South Indian music. 

The instrumentalists of those days seem to have reach- 
ed a high standard of playing. Their finger technique, 
the skill with which they displayed the ghana nay a hkdvas, 
the wonderful command that they possessed over their 
instruments and the artistic finish of their performances 
are all echoed in the Silappadikaram. The performers 
had their allotted seats on the stage. 

Par.^llel ideas 

There are many parallel ideas in the ancient works 
on music in Tamil and Sanskrit. The similarities in the 
values of the sruti intervals and the names of animals and 
birds whose cries approximated to the seven notes have 
already been referred to. Ni was the first note in the ydl 
and it was to this same note that the string of the vlna was 
tuned in ancient times. The classifications of svaras into 
vadi, samvddi, anuvadi and vivadi have their correspond- 
ence in inai (^^aar), kilai natpu (mii-Lj), and pakai 

(um3s) notes. 

Appendix III 369 

It is a pity that the beautiful musical system of the 
ancient Tamils is now lost. Even in the time of Adiyark- 
kunaliar it was quite forgotten. Some of the ancient 
pans are however still used in the recitals of the Tevdram 


Appendix I V 


In Ceylon, more than in India, the Pattini cult has 
continued for a long time. In the march of years many 
legends have grown round the origin and career of Kan- 
naki, and the Sinhalese tradition is very different from 
what obtains in South India. In Ceylon Pattini has been 
regarded as Durga with as many as eight KaMs waiting 
in attendance on her. She causes and cures epidemics 
like smallpox, and so prayers are offered at her shrine.^ 
One mode of prayer was the worship of the anklet symbol 
{silantbu) which was placed in a decorated vessel with the 
figure of a cobra moulded on it. There are works in 
Sinhalese entitled Salaniba Kathava and Patiini Pidima 
dealing with the career of Pattini and the ritual of 
offering prayers to her.^ The cult has become so popular 
that in one district alone, Jaffna, there are as many as 
a dozen temples to Pattini. Many miraculous deeds are 
attributed to her. It is not possible nor necessary to give 
all details concerning the cult in an appendix like this. 
One such miraculous deed was that when she planted her 
foot on a rock, there gushed forth a fountain of water. 

H. Parker, the author of A'ncie'yit Ceylon, refers to this 
cult in moi*e than one place. In the last portions of his 
book he records a tradition that Kannaki was reborn a 
demoness and entered Ceylon with two sons of the Pandyan 
king, notwithstanding the stout opposition from the four 
guardian deities of the island. We are told that this 
tradition has given rise to what is known as the Fire- 
Walking Ceremony conducted every year in her honour.^ 

^ H. Parker, Atvcient Ceylon^ pp. 15 1, 161. 

® Cey. Ant,, Vol. I, No. 2. p. 128. 

® Parker, op, cit., pp. 632-3. 

Appendix IV 371 

Still another interesting story current in certain 
parts of Ceylon is that Kannaki was a daughter of the 
Pandyan King. Astrologers predicted that she would be 
the ruin of the Pandyan kingdom. The King who believed 
this put his daughter in a box and left it afloat on a river. 
Two members of the Vaisya caste, who were merchants by 
profession, noticed this box and had it rescued. The names 
of these merchants were Manakkar and Masattar. The 
former adopted her as his daughter and the latter’s son 
married her in course of time.^ This tradition has special 
interest for us in South India as the Kovalan drama is 
still showrr* on the stage and very popularly attended. 
The Tamil dramatic representation has more or less adopted 
this Ceylonese tradition in its delineation of the early life 
of Kovalan and Kannaki. 

This now leads us to inquire into the different turns 
which the epic episode of Kannaki has taken in South 
India.'* One is the association of this Pattini cult with the 
Draupadi Amman festival, Draupadi being the chaste queen 
of the five Pandava brothers. Tradition affirms that she 
is one of the five kanyas whose names are daily remembered 
so as to keep the torchlight of morality ever burning 
throughout the length and breadth of this land. Tamil 
tradition refers to Draupadi as aliyata pattini, the eternal 
Pattini or an incarnation of chastity. Later tradition has 
confounded the Kannaki ciilt with the Draupadi cult, and 
the whole thing has been treated as the Pattini cult in 
general. Draupadiyamman Utsavam is a popular festival 
in Tamil India today, and in some places this is connected 
with a fire-walking ceremony. 

That the Pattini cult was once prevalent throughout 
South India is seen from the fact that even to the present 
day festivals in her honour are celebrated in a village on 

^ Cey. Ant.y Vol. VIII, No. 3. p. 252. 

® See M. Raghava Aiyangar’s Ceran Senguttuvan, pp. 141-4 : Ardiycci^ 
toguti^ pp. 238-40. 

372 The Silappadikaram 

the outskirts o£ the town of Negapatam (Tanjore District) 
underneath a tree ; in the region of Arrur (Madura Dis- 
trict) ; and among the primitive Toda tribes in the Nilgiris. 
Still more interesting is the story contained in a popular 
book entitled Kovalankadai attributed to a certain Puga- 
lendiyar. This is probably a composition of 300 or 400 
years ago. There is a similar version in a manuscript in 
the Malayaia country, showing some agreement with the 
Kovalankadai. It is said that the Bhagavati worshipped in 
Chenganur or Tricchenganur in Malabar was none other 
than Kannakidevl, who took the role of a Kali, popular- 
ly known as Durgadevi, and finally settled in Tifuvorriyur, 
the northern limit of the city of Madras. She became 
known there as Vattapuriyamman. There is a separate 
shrine to this deity in the northern prdkdra of the famous 
Tiruvorriyur temple, and every year a festival is held in 
her honour lasting for fifteen days. Local tradition affirms 
that in ancient days a goldsmith was regularly offered to 
this deity in connexion with this festival. But once a gold- 
smith poet praised the goddess in suitable terms and 
extracted a promise that an animal would thereafter be 
substituted. One conspicuous feature of this festival is 
that on the last day, the special pandal erected for the 
sacrifice is fired, as a symbolical representation of the 
burning down of Madura city by Kariijaki. This only 
demonstrates how the cult spread from one part of the land 
to the other, from Malabar to Coromandel. 

Much more interesting is the tradition by which the 
Bhagavati enshrined at Cranganore goes by the name of 
Orraimulaicci, the goddess with one breast. How and 
when this metamorphosis of the Pattini cult into the Bhaga- 
vati and Kali cult of a demoness took place, it is difficult 
to say at this distance of time. Though the text of the 
Silappadikaram does not give us any hint on this point, 
yet by the time of Arumpadvuraiyasiriyar, this transforma- 
tion had become an accomplished fact. He says in one 

Appendix IV 373 

place that Kannaki was born as Durga. This is due to 
the fact, to hazard a guess, that as Kali worship was 
popular in the Tamil land from the earliest times, the 
Pattini cult had in course of time been intimately associated 
with it. 

Whatever may have been the later developments of the 
cult, it is certain that immediteiy following the foundation 
of the first shrine to Pattinidevi by Senguttuvan in the 
second century a*d., it was introduced into countries outside 
the Tamilnadu, like Ceylon and Malva, and became a 
universal cult not only in South India and Ceylon but also 
in some part of the Deccan,^ 

* Yet another distorted version of the story is found in M. Frere’^s Old 
Deccan Days (published in iS6S by John Murray, London) in a tale called 
‘Chandra’s Vengeance’. Ivdvalan is called Koila, and Kannaki is Chandra. 
The story goes that Koila, son of a sowkar, was captivated by a dancing-girl 
called Moulee and had won the garland by which he became her husband. 
After dire circumstances, Koila and his wife reached Madura where an old 
milk-seller offered them hospitality. A jeweller of that place who had deprived 
the Rani of a bangle, accused Koila of stealing it and had him cut in twain. 
Chandra set fire to the city although the old milk-seller advised her to spare 
the 'ptir'wari (residences of low castes). Then she sewed the two halves of the 
dead body and prayed to Siva to give it life. Koila was resurrected and returned 
home with Chandra. (This is a version of the story told to Frere in Goa by 
an ayah. The ayah herself had heard it from her grandparents who were 
living in Calicut.) 


Adakamadam, a temple near Karur, 
_ 295, 295W., 339 

Adimandaiyar, or Mandi, daughter of 
Karikala, 25 iw. 

Xdi^esa, 29377. 

. 59 > 63”*) 



73 > 

74, 77/2. 

, 9277., 



I 1072 . 

, 11977., 





, 18977., 


1 9477-, 


21077 - 

, 21277 ., 





, 24277., 


Adukotpattucceralatan, son of Ivud- 
akko-Nedumceralatan and Velavik- 
komandevi, ii, 12 ; ruled over 
Kuttanadu, 14 

Agastya, lived in Podiyil Hill, 46, 58, 
I 45 j iSgn. ; curse of, 97, 97M. ; 

cursed ‘Orvasi, 123 ; his tradition in 
South and Greater India, 2ion. 

Agni, 51; tested Sibi, 311W. 

Ahalya, 252n. 

Ahandfjuzti, ii, 14, 23, 24, 33, 64, 

66, 67 

Ahavarpd or Ahaval (blank verse), 9 

A History of Fine Art in India and 
Ceylon, i 6 n. 

Aimperumkulu, 36, i03n., H7, iiyn. 

Ayirani, same as Indrani i25n-. 

Airavata, white elephant of Indra, 
ii 6 n., 283 ; temple of, i5in. ; 
worship of, 50 

Aiyai, daughter of Madari and an 
attendant of Kannaki, 5, 50 lygn., 
184, 219, 220, 221, 228, 229, 239n., 

328, 330 

Aiyai, Korravai, iSon, 

Aiyaikottam, the temple of Korravai, 

i 79 ». 

Aiyaikumari, worshipped by the 
Maravar, lygn. 

Aiyanar, temple of, identified with 
Satavahana’s temple by Adiyarkku- 
nallar, 152, I52n. 

Aiyangar, Dr S. K., 74n., 

i03n., 248«., 338^, 

Aiyangar, Raghava, Mahavidvan R., 
44, 213W., 284^. 

Aiyangar, Raghava, Pandit M-, 12, 

35 n., 40J7., 44, 48, gon., 114, 117M., 
2ion,, 283M., 29877-, 322n., 339n. 

Aiyangar, Srinivasa, M., J2?z. 
Ai3^angar, Srinivasa, P. T., 972., 1471., 

Ai3^ar, Ramaswami, M. S., 6on., 9872. 
Aiyar, Sesha, K. G., 23577., 29577., 


Aiyar, Swaminatha, Dr V., ii, 69, 
74, 9977., IOI77., 15477., i63«., 17277., 

21372., 21477., 25277., 33977. 

Aiykalaippavai, other names of, 17977 
Ajivaka, sect, 47, 52 

Akrura, 22872. 

Alamar^elvan (Daksi^amurti), 266 
5 . 1 ava.i, 25377. 

Alumbil vel, a Velir chieftain, 37, 290, 

29077., 325 

Alvdrhal an iJ ai, n yn . 

Amaravati, 122, 12277. 

Ambanavar, 19 177., 19277. 

Ammanai, 333, 333^^-, 334 
Anangu (Bhadrakali), 247 
Ancient Ceylon, i 6 n. 

A 7 icient India, 15 n. 

Andhras, 26, 28 

Anduvan, father of Selvakkadungo, 12 
Anporunai (Amaravati), a river in the 
Cera country, 43, 321, 332, 33277. 
Antari or Sakti or Jtiykalaippavai, 

17977., 188 

^pya, goddess of wild tribes, 17977. 
Arakkalam, Hall of Justice, 41 
Krdiccimani, 2.S3n. 

Araisu-kattilunufijiya, a title of 
Nedunjeliyan, 27177. 

Arangam, a name for Srirangam, 171, 

Arattan Setti, 338 ; Kovalan’s mother 
and Kannaki ’s mother born as the 
twins of, 34077., 341 
Aravanadigal, 12177., 22171., 33877. 
Aravon (Buddha), 156 



Ardhanarl^vara, 3 1 9n. 

Ai:ivan, 158, 171 

Ariyappadaikadanda Nedunjeliyan, 


Ariyappadaitanda Nedunjeliyan, 32, 33 
Arjuna, 257^ 259^., 302, 342^. 
^rruvari (river song), S 
Artha^astra of Kautalya, 20, 8iw-, 

1 16, i6in., 


202 n., 

2ogn’. , 

223n., 269^., 



295 n., 


Aruhankoil, 68 

A runipadavuraij 

a commentary 

on the 

Silappadikdrafrii 70, 


205n. , 

207n., 226n., 

239 ”* •» 

2 47 n., 

257 n. , 

277??., 29gn. 




24in., 27on., 28gn., 295«. 

Aruriagiri Svamigal, 277W. 

Arundati, 88, 90, gon., 120 
Aryan culture, traces of, in the epic, 

Aryan kings released from prison 

Aryavarta, kings of, spoke in dis- 
paragement of the Tamil kings, 327 
Ai^odai (Ya^oda), 221, 236 
Asoka, patronage of different sects by, 
52 ; inscriptions of, igSn. 

Astdksaraj 63, lyyn. 

Atakamatam, temple of, identification 
of, 48 

Avanti, 26, 114, 320 

Ayakkanahhar, 325 
Ayirai, river, 322, 322«. 

Ayodhya, condition of, on Rama leav- 
ing it, 193, 193M, 

^Ayodhya*, 2i3n. 

Baladeva, also called Valiyon (Bala- 
rama), 66, 117, iiyn., 199 
Balakumara and Vijaya, identification 
of, 28 ; sons of, spoke disparagingly 
of the Tamil kings, 299 
Balarama, the white god (Baladeva), 
47, 229, 231, 234n. ; temple of, 151, 
i5in. ; worship of, 50, i75n. 

Baleokourous, a corrupt form of Bala- 
kumara, 28 

Bairavan, 300 

Ban a, dance of Visnu after the des- 
truction of, 124, 125 
Banasura, see Bana, 58, 125, i25n. 
Bandiko^ikan, ipan. 

Bangalar, conquest of, 34, 289, 289M. 
Banerji, R. D., 3412. 

Bdratam, of Perumdevanar, 3 
Baratan, Kovalan in his former life, 
6, 269 

Baratasendpatiyam, 71 
Baratasenapatiyar, 59 
Barati (Kali), dance of, 124 
Barbaras, lygn- 
Bav^akarani, a pond, 175 
Bhagavat Gltd, 16212. 

Bhdgavatapurdna, ii3n., i24n., i88n., 
22i«., 232n-, 23312. t 235W., 236n., 


Bhairavan, 26, (Bairavan), 300 
Bhandarkar, Prof- R. G., 50, ii7n. 
Bharatanatyaidstra, 59 
Bharati, S. S., on Marumakkat- 
tayam, 12 
Bhogabhumif 65 

Bodhdyanagrhyasiitra^ 88w., 90n. 
Bogahtimi, 154 

Bow, emblem of the Cera, 228, 322 
Brahma, 183, 183M, 185, i8gn., 257, 

280 ; son of Visnu, 20on. ; Vedic 
sacrifices ordained by, ii8n. ; dance 
before, 124 

Brahmdn^a Purdna^ 49, i72n., 


British Museum plates of the Palla- 
vas, 10 

Buddha, 47 ; (Ara^yow), 156 ; sect of, 


Burgess and Natesa Sastri, 22n. 
Butams, four, desertation of Madura 

t»y> 256-9 

Butacatukkam, 32, 51, 115 

Cakravala mountain, 144 
Campapati, see Puhar, 122 
Camundi, one of the seven Lokama- 
tas, 247W., 248n- 

Camuridi, of the Mysore kings, 26 in. 
Candirakantf ig3n. 



Candra, 64 

Cape Comorin (see Kumari), 335 
Carana, met the Kovalan party, and 
talk of, 163-6 

Caranar, a class of divinities, 157, 171, 
216, 2i6n., 217 
Catukkabutam, 322W. 

Caturmukha, i64n. 

Cedi, city of the Vidyadharas, 122, 


Celkelukuttuvan, 65 
Cendil, 277, 277n. 

Cengadu, 277, 277W* 

Cera kings, earned the titles of Puhar- 
selva, and Imayavaramba, 31 
CeralMan, father of llango, 12, 66, 
67, 28311. 327 

Ceran Senguttuvan, 35n., 2io«., 283«., 

Cera kingdom, 30-1 
Ceranadu, extent and division of, 43 
Ceras, early history of, can be carried 
back to an epoch before the Maha 
bharata war, i x 

Ceylon, 7 ; relations of South India 
with, 35 

Chastity, seven women of, at Puhar, 


Chronology of the Early Tamils^ gn. 
Citra (see Cittiran), 300 
Cittira^ 100. 

Cittiramatattutunjiya Nanmaran, a 
Pandya title, 27 iw. 

Cittiran (Citra), 26, 300 
Citrapati, Madavi’s mother, 65, 338n. 
City god, temple of, 15 1 
Cola kingdom, 31-2, 46 
Cola Manakkilli, son of Karikala and 
father of Narconai, 12, 24 ; Cola 

princess, mother of Senguttuvan, 


Colas, genealogical list of the early 
rulers of, 2 5 
Commerce, 39 

Confederacy of the northern kings, 
battle with Senguttuvan, 300-2 
Cranganore, 44 
Cuddniani, 163M. 

Cupid, fish-bannered prince, 109, 119, 
120, 145, 147, 150, 203 ; sufferings 
caused by, 200 

Dakkinan (Daksiijamurti), 266 
Daksa, daughters of, married Kasya- 
pa, 247-87?. 

Daksinamurti (Alamar^elvan), a form 
of Siva, 266, 279 
Damayanti, 201, 201W. 

Dances, kinds of, 49, 55, 57, 58, 104. 
10431., 124-5, 275f. : charac- 

teristics of, 205ff. : two schools of, 
97* 97«-f 9S«. 

Das, A, C., ii6w. 

Dasaratha, 19331., 200 
Daruka, 248, 24831. 

Death, punishment for a thief, 249 
Devandi, wife of the Brahman, 62 ; 
talk with Kannaki, 153-4 ; dream 
of Kannaki narrated to, 245 ; went 
to Madura and then to Senguttuvan, 

Devandikai, wife of Sattan, 340 ; told 
Senguttuvan of Manimekalai’s story, 
337 ; god-possessed, 338ff. ; ordered to 
offer flowers to the temple of Pat- 
tini, 342 ; address of, to llango A(Ji- 
gal, being god-possessed, 343, 34331. 
Devayani, daughter of Indra, married 
by Subrahmanya, 27071. 

Devi, worship of, as Korravai, 49 
Dhanurdhara (see Tanuttaran), 300 
Dharma^astras, 57 
Diamonds, kinds of, 207 
Dikshitar, V. R. R., S, 2031., 3331., 

3631., 3931., 10331., 1 1731., 15231,, 

17431., 17831., 18331., 2 ion-., 21 in., 

2497i<., 25431., 277n., 3i2n. 

Divdkara 7 n, 51, 15231., 31831. 

Divyapraha^tdham, lo 

Dramaturgy, two branches of, 99, 

9931 . 

Dress and ornaments, 126-7 
Durga (Mayaval), 125, 194, 183, 

18331., 18531., i86n., 270W. ; worship 
of, 58 ; anxiety of, for justice, 267 

Duryodhana, 25731. 

Dvaraka, 235 

Eiynar of the Maravar tribe, 56, 174, 
180, 181, i8in., 182, i82n., 184, 
185, i86n., 187, 18731., 188 


37 S 

Elements of Hindu Iconography, Sgn, 

Enpcrayam, 36, 117, iiyn. 

Ei'akam, Svamimalai, 49, 277, ayyn. 

Mrmangalam, sung by ploughmen, 
1 62 

Etti, a title conferred on mer- 
chants, 39 

Etti Sangaman, a merchant of Madura, 

Ettisayalan, a title of merchant 
princes, 216, 2i6«., 217 

Ettuttogaiy 66 

Evil omens, signs of, 63, 160 

Evolution of Hindu Administrative 
Institutions in South India^ 74 ^^- 

Festivals, in honour of the Lady of 
Chastity, 81 ; sacred to Indra, 3 
Fire cult, 65, 233 
Fires, three, 257, 257n., 265, 265^. 
Flags of the Tamil kings, 37, 38, 162, 

Gajabahu, king of Ceylon, 7 ; synchro- 
nism of, i4f., 35; built a* temple for 
Fattini<Jevi, 16 
Gajabahu II, i5«., t6 
Gajabahukagamani, same as Gaja- 
bahu, 15 

Gandharvas, 296«. 

Ganga, in the hair of 8iva, 295 
Gangar (Konkanar), the people of 
Gangavadi, 18, 35 ; conquest of, 289, 

Gauri, see Kavuri, 1S3 
Gokula, 232, 235 

Goldsmith, of the Pandyan State, 
machinations of, for causing the 
death of Kovalan, 223-7 
G 5 pala, Sanskrit variant of the name 
Kovalan, 213 
Gopalan, R., 10 
Gopinatha Rao, T, A., 89n. 

Gfhya sutras, 57, 65 
Gunanulutaiyar, 59 
Gunavayirkottam, 343 

Hair, dressed in five plaits, 135, 158, 
214, 286 

Hanuman, 262^1. 

Hara, 185 

Hari, 185 

Hariharacaturanga^ a manuscript on 
war by the minister of Prataparud- 
ra, 21 

Harsa, worshipped Sun, Buddha and 
Siva, 52 

Head offerings, Talaibali, 113, 11377., 


Himalayan crests, the marks of the 
three Tamil kings on, 22S 

Hiragadahalli plate, 10 

Hiranyakaj^ipu, killed 1:^’ Narasimha, 

Hindu Administrative Institutions, 
j6m, 103W., 153^., 17672., 254 ??., 


History of the Tamils, 977 ., 14, 1572 ., 
24n‘., 47, 74, 210J1., 22671. 

History of India, by Jayaswal, 26 

History of the Tamil Language, 9977 . 

Human sacrifice, 18771, 

Humped bull, coming in front, a bad 
omen, 223 

Hunter, W. W., 59 

Idumbatavanam, 32 in 
Idumbil, 321 

Ilamceral Irumporai, son of Kuttuvan 
(Perumceral) Irumporai and Ven- 
mal-Anduvan Cellai, ir, 12, 13 
Ham killi (Nalam kilji), 31 
Ilampuranar, see Uraiyasiriyar, 8, 9 m. 
Ilahcetcenni, 46 
Ilango (Ilango-Adxgal), 20271'. 
Ilango-Adigal, the author, son of 
Ceralatan, brother of Senguttuvan, 
account of, 3, 13, 55, 58, 66-9, 80, 
1 8 in. ; became an ascetic, 14 ; no 
Jain, 52; conduct towards, 38; 
praise of Karikala by, 2if. ; address 
to Devandikai by, 343 
Ilango vel, 28311. 

Tlango Venma}, queen of Senguttuvan, 
283, 28371. ; attended council meet- 
ings, 37 ; amusements of, 38 
Ijanjetcenni, 25 



Ilamjeliyan (see Ve£r:ivei;celiyan), 
younger brother of Ariyapadaitanda 
Neduhjeliyan, and father of Nedun- 
jeliyan, 32, 33 ; the Pandyan king, 7 
Ilanjimanram, 115 
Ilan-Ko^ar, 81 

Ilavandihai, the king’s park, 157 
Ilavandikaippalli, a pleasure resort of 
Senguttuvan, 38 

Ilavantikaipallitunjiya Nanmaran, a 
Pandya title, 27 iw. 

Imayavaramba, a title of the Cera 
kings, 31, 293 

Imayavaramban, date of, 17 ; and the 
Yavanas, 27 ; felled Kadambu, 
209?^. ; eMer brother and Palyanai- 
celkelukuttuvan, 26^n, 
Imayavaramban Nedumceralatan, son 
of Udiyan Cerai, ii, 12, 13 ; father 
of Senguttuvan, 19 ; contemporary 
of Karikala, 24 ; invasion of, over 
the north, 23 ; wounded by Karikala 
at Venni, 13 

Imayavaramban, a title of Senguttu- 
van, 19 

Indirakdliyam, 71 

Indra, 47, 51, 58, 64, 66, 94, 123, 

i25n., 156, 172, 201, 202, 276, 283n., 
334; father of Jayanta, 97, 97n., 

102 ; father of Devayani, ; 

tested Sibi, 301 ; festival of, 53, 
i20«., 122, ii6ff. ; his festival, in- 

troduced by Tunjaiyilerinda-todittot- 
^embiyan at Pumpuhar, i3on. ; 
worship of, 123 ; garland of, worn 
by the Pandyan king, I95n. 

Indrani, worship of, 58 ; dance of, 125 
Indraviharas, 308 

Interregnum, after Nedunjejiyan’s 
death, 38 

Iraiyandr Ahapporul, 8, 103W. 

Irrigation, vessels used in, 161 
Irukkuvel, 28311. 

Irumsolai, a name of Tirumalkunram, 


Irungovel, 28311. 
liaf, I, 9911. 

Isaippdtiu, 2 

liaittamil, the epic belongs to the class 
of. 59 

Itta^iddi, a pond, 175 

lyal, I, 99/1- 

lyengar, Srinivasa, P. T., 73, 12611. 

Jaina, 47 ; practices of, 52 ; temples 
of, in Puhar, 118 

Jayankondan, the author of Kalingat- 
fitparam, 72 

Jayanta, Indra ’s son, misbehaviour 
of, at Indra ’s court, 58 ; curse of, 
9711. ; represented by the talaihhoh 
102, 320 

Jayantanulutaiyar, 59 

Jayaswal, K. P., 26 

Jzvahacintcimani, 10311., io8n., 1461^., 
2 i 5 «*, soon. 

Justice, 41-2 

Kadalpi^akottiya Senguttuvan, ii 
Kadalpii^akot^iya Velkeiu Kuttuvan, 
a title of Senguttuvan, iS 
Kadamba, destroyed by Ceralatan, 

Kadamha, of the sea, overthrowing 
of, 235, 235n., 291 
I<.adamban, 278 

Kadambu, felled by Imayavaramban, 
266, 26611., 3091?., 322, 334, 335, 


Kadiyalur Uruttiran Kannanar, author 
of PattinappdJai, 22 
Kailasa, the abode of Siva, 122, 279, 

Kakandi, a name of Kaveripattinam, 

Kalam, common dancing hall, 55 
Ka|angaykkanni Narmudicceralatan, 
son of Ceralatan and Velavikko- 
man Padumandevi, ir, 12 
Kalavu marriage, $6 
Kali, 248, 25311. ; dance of, 124 ; n 
name of Korravai, 17911. 

Kalidasa, 8911, 

Kalinga, kingdom of, 268 
Kalingar, history of, 34, conquest of, 

KaUngattupparaniy 72, 26411. 



Kalittogai, I38n., iSon., 167, i8i, 
iSgii., 2oin., 21912., 230, 27921.* 

2 S 2 W., 33IW. 

Kalpa tree, worship of, 50 
Kalpandmanditlkdf 29 
Kama, 157; dance of, 125; Kdvalan 
compared to, 96 
KamaksT, worship of, 49 
Kamsa, 58, 124, 288, i8Sn., 237n*. 

Kanaka, 332, 342n. ; gave battle tv) 

Senguttuvan and was defeated, 7, 
26, 300, 301 ; carried the stone slab 
for the image of PattinI, 304, 306, 
30612. ; sent back, 312 ; spoke dis- 
paragingly of the Tamil kings, 299, 
3ggn. ; identification of, with Kanis* 
ka, 28, 29 

Kanakasabhai, 15, 27, 44, 68 
KdfjaJvart (sea song), 8 
Kanappertanta, an attribute of Ukki- 
rapperuvajudi, 33 

Kancf, 30 ,* worship of Kamaksi at, 
49 ; mentioned by the twin epics, 
capital of the northern viceroyalty 
of the Colas, 10 ; boundary of the 
Colamandalam, 32 ; birth-place of 
Urva^i, 97n. 

Kandan (Subrahmanya), lyin. 
KandanpalH, 171, i7in. 

Kandavanam, 259, 259^. 

Kandukavari (song sung by girls while 
playing with balls), 9 
Kanika, identified with Kaniska, 28, 

Kaniska, 26, 28, 29 
Kanji (Noyyil), a river in the Cera 
country, 43 
Kahjukamakkal, 37 
Kannaki, heroine of the story, 1, 2, 
3ff-. 5°. 52. 77. 79. 88, 89, 90, 9on., 
t2o, 180, 182, i 82«., 191, 20on., 

219, 2ign., 220, 22on., 306, 307, 

339n., 344; parents of, Ajivikas, 52, 
308 ; looked like Ratf, 166 ; com- 
pared to Pinnai* 221 ; sorrow of, 
108; at Uraiyur, 167, 171 ; attract- 
ed to Madura, 32, 156, 157, 158, 

179, i79«m 197 J dream of, 

described to Devandikai, 62, 153-4; 
returned to, by Kovalan, 154-5; 
lodging with Madari, 215, 217; 

grief of, at the death of her lord, 
239. 339n., 240, 240W., 241, 24in-., 
242, 243, 244, 24411., 245; dream 

of, 246 ; communication of the same 
to the king, 247 ; representations 
to the king', 248-9 ; curse of, 38 ; 
spoke to the seven women of chas- 
tit\% 251-3 ; destroj^ed the city, 253- 
4 ; victory of, over ihe Madur'i 
king, 26 in. ; went up to Heaven, 
270 ; story of, narrated to the Cera 
king by the hill tribes and Sattan, 
28511, ; stone for the image of, from 
the Himalayas or the Podiyil hill, 
287ff., 327 ; image of, bathed in 

the Ganges, 39 ; carving of the im- 
age of, 64 ; deification of, 275^ ; 
consecration of a temple to, 328, 
32 9 w. ; remission of taxes at the 
time of the consecration of the 
temple of, 39 ; greatness of, magni- 
fied by the Devas, 281, 2S2 ; divine 
form of, seen by Senguttuvan, 331, 
337 ; mother of, born as a daughter 
of Araftan Selti, 339, 33gn. 

Kannar, sec Nurruvar Kannar, 300 

Kam^ehittu^ 39 

Kanni, see Kanyakumari* 132, 253J1. 

Kanyakumari, 132, I32«. 

Kapilapura, a city in Kalinga, the 
capital of Kumara, 34, 26S, 268w. 

Kapilar, Sangam poet, a contemporary 
of Ilangd, 9, 68 

Kappiyas, family of, 340 

Karandai^ tS6n. 

Karikal-Peruvalattan, see Tiruma- 

Karikala, 90, 2 ion., 251 ; a posthu- 
mous child and son of Uruvappahrer- 
Ilahjetcenni, 21-2 ; wounded Ima- 
yaramban at Venni, 13, 22 ; con- 
struction of the embankments of the 
Kaveri by, 22 ; invasion of, over the 
north, 23 ; and Ceran Senguttuvan, 
24 ; had nothing to do with Trilo- 
canapallava or Calukya Vijayaditya* 
24 ; date of, 22ff. ; contemporary of 
Imayavaramban, 14 ; embankment 
of the Kaveri by, 35 ; justice of, 
36 ; overlordship of, acknowledged 
by Avanti, Vajra and Magadha, 26 ; 



celebrated the first freshes of the 
Kaveri, 129, 129U., 130, 132?!. 

Karikalaccdlan, 46, gon. 
Karikalvalavan, see Karikala, 22 
Kariyama], 253n. 

Kariyaru, a river in the Cera country, 

Kariyaru, battle of, where Nedum- 

killi was killed by Nalamkilli, 31 

Karkataka pose, 232, 232^. 
Kdrkkuravai^ a kind of dance, zgyn. 
Karavatam^ a treatise on theft, 63 
Karpti marriage, 56 
Karttikai, wife of Varttikan, 267, 


Karundmrtas^gciram, 231 
Karunatar, 34 ; conquest of, 289 

Karur, Cera capital? 48, 235n.. 


Karuvur, was Vanji, 44, 235^, 
Ka^yapa, 248^. 

Ka^tiyat*? 35 ; -conquest of, 289, 289^2. 
Kauravas, hundred, 238, 304, 335 
Kauriyar, a title of the Pand\an 
king, 209, 209n. 

Kau^ikan, the Brahman, 4, 243?7. ; 

address of, to Kovalan, i92ff. 
Kautaiya, 2g3n. 

Kavatapuram, 45 

Kaveri, 2, 4, 166, 168, 172, 251, 

252n., 2S7, 31 1, 332 ; construction of 
its embankment by Karikala, 22 ; 
first freshes of, celebrated by Kari- 
kala, 129, 129^., 130, 157; descrip- 
tion of the movement of, 160-4 ; a 
town adjoining it, 183 ; songs about, 
sung by Kovalan, 131-6 
Kavidimakkal, officers in charge of 
the finance department, 39 
Kavirippumpakkattupattinam, a town 
near Kaveri, 21611. 

Kciveripattinam, a capital of the Cola 
kingdom, became prominent under 
Karikalaccolan, 46, 209W., 3o8n. ; 

other names of, 87 

Kavundi or Kavundi, a Jain Saint, 4, 
5, 190, 194, 209, 217, 219, 214, 330, 
talk of, with Kovalan, i57ff. ; outfit 
of, 160 ; accompanied Kovalan to 
Madura, i6of. ; talk with the Ca- 
rana, i63f, ; reply of, to the Brah- 

mana, 177, 177^1. ; talk of, 199, 200, 
201 ; address to Madari, 215^. ; died 
of starvation, 307-S 
Kavundi Adigal (Kavundi). a Jain 
Sannyasini, 48 

Kav undip paUi, residence of Saint 

Kavundi, 157 
Kavuri (Gauri), 183 
Kayavahu (Gajabahu), 15 ; prayer of, 
to Fattini, 343, 343H. 

Killivalavan Peruna^killi, son of Peru- 
virarkilli, 25, 3 1 ; brother-in-law of 
Senguttuvan, 309 ; conduct of, 38 
Kinnaras, 2g6n. 

Kirandai, story of, 264 
Koduhur, devastated by Senguttuvan, 

Kodumbai, see Kodumbalur, 174 
Kodumbalur, i74n- ; Velir chiefs of, 

iv<5Z> loi, 102 

Kolu, a custom among the young girls 
of the cowherd community, 230, 
23 on. 

Kongan, a title of the Cera king, 30 
Kongar (Gangas), defeated by Ser* 
guttuvan, iS 

Kongijamko.4ar, sec Kosar, 33 
Kongu, 1 uler of, prayer to Pattini, 343 
Kongumandalam, 7 

Kongus, defeated by Senguttuvan, 327 
Kongudesarajakkal, see Kongar, 18 
Konkan, battle of, 289, aSgn. 
Konkana, dances of, 296 
Konkanar, conquest of, 28gii. 
Kopperundevi, the great Pandyan 
queen, 224, 247, 314 
Korkai (Kavatapuram), quondam capi- 
tal uf the Paiidyas wherefrom 
Verriverceiiyan was ruling, 7, 32, 
45, Si, 247, 247n., 309, 30911. ; a 

port of the Pandya kingdom, 262, 

Korravai, Goddess of victory, 47, 49 j 
59, 179??., iSon. ; the deity of the 

Ceras, 44 ; temple of, 270 
Kosar, the Satyaputras of the Asokan 
inscriptions, 33f. 

Kosikan, 192^7. 

Kothaimangalam, 44 
Kottarrif 64, 69 



Koiticcedanif a dance, danced by Siva 
with Uma, 319 

Kovalaii, a Vaisya merchant, son oft 
Masattuvan, 49, 52, 53, 63, 64, 65, 
71, 77, 78, 79, iig, 143, 144, i45» 
147. 590. 245, 270, ssyn- ; 

parents of, Buddhists, 52 ; lived in 
Puhar, 89, 90, 92ff- ; compared to 

Krsna, 221, 22 in. ; looked like 

Kama, 166 ; an observer of the vows 
of the Savakas, 220; story of, i, 2, 
3ff. ; earlier life of, 6 ; good deeds 
of, 209-12, 341 ; captivated by 

Madavi, 105 ; life with her, 107, 
126-30; attracted to Madura, 32; 
proceeded to Madura with Kannaki, 
i54f. ; played odes to the Kaveri, 
131-7; at Uraiyur, 167, 171 ; talk of, 
with a Brahmana, 271^. ; talk of, 
with the forest deity in the guise of 
Vasantamala, 178 ; proceeded to 
Madura, 179, 179^. ; talk with Kau- 
sikan, 193-4 ; proceeded to Madura, 
195; reached Vaigai, 197; talk -with 
Kavundi, iggff. ; at Madura, 2ioir. ; 
dream of, 213-4; went out with the 
anklet to sell it, 221, 222, 223 ; kill- 
ing of, 227 ; miscarriage of justice 
in the case of, 42 ; result of his 
death, 32S; curse m his previous 
birth, 269 ; story of, narrated by 
Madalan to Senguttuvan, 3071!. ; 
mother of, born as a daughter of 
Ara^an Selti, 340, 34i«. 

Krsna, 47, 48, 175^., iSSn., iSgn., 

22Sn., 22gn., 230^., 232, 232^ , 

233^., 234 n., 236 w‘., 257n., 342n. ; 

married to Pinnai, 49 ; worship of, 
50, 58; dance of, 59; Koval an com- 
pared to, 221, 22 in. 

Ksatriya butam, 257 

Kudal, see Madura, 82, 195, 250, 

253n., 2S1, 331, 343; destruction of, 


Kudakkocceral Ilango, 77, 78, 79 

Kudakko Nedumceralatan, father of 
Adukdtpattucceralatan, 12 

Kudamalai, 182 

KujJavanaru, a river in the Cera 
country, 43 

Ku^avar, lord of, the Cera king, 313 

Kudavar, Senguttuvan, lord of, 307 
Kudavar ko, 28211. 

Ku^avarkdman, a name of the Cera 
king, 30 

Kudavarkoman Nedumceralatan, father 
of Senguttuvan, 12 

Kulavanikan Sattan (Sattanar), see 
Sattan, 52, 80 

Kulavanikan Sittalai Sattanar, a San- 
gam celebrity, and the author of 
Manunekalai, 9, 67, 68 
Kumara, king, ruled at Kapiiapuram, 
34, 26S, 26S«. 

Kumari, a port in the Pandyan king- 
dom, 172, i72n., i8in., 183, 1S5, 

18S, 262, 262?!., 346; sea, 145 
Kumari hill, swallowed by the sea, 44 
Kunavar ko, 2 San. 

Kunavarkoman, ruled over the Cola 
kingdom, 31 
Kunavayil, 77 

Kunavayirkottam, the residence of 
Ilango, 67, 68, yyn, 

Kunavayirkottani Aruhankoil, 73 
Kundurkurram, 171?!. 

Kuravai, dance, 2, 5, 229, 277, 282 

Kuravas, 280 
Kuri;am, district, 42 
Kuru, 209n. 

Kuruntogai, 20371., 251;!., 289^7. 
Kuttuvan, a Cera title, 43 
KuUuvan, a title of the Cera king, 
30, 43 

KuUuvan, a title of Imayavaramban, 

KuUuvan Ceral, son of Senguttuvan, 
given to Paranar as a gift, 12, 13 
Kuttuvan (Perumceral) Irumporai, 
father ol Ilamceral, 12, 13 
Kuyilaluvam, a place of worship in 
the Himalaya, sacred to Siva, 320 
32077. ; battle of, 26 

r.<ady of Chastity, festivals in honour 
of, 8t 

Laksmi, 58, iiSw., 119, 172, 183, 232, 
261W., 286 ; dance of, 125 ; Kannaki 
compared to, 213 



Lanka, 302, 32 2«. 

Leyden Grant, 32 

I^inga Purana, 39 

Literary Tamil, traits of, 9 

Lute, descriptions of the sounds of, 


Miibodi, 51 

Madalan, the Brahmana astrologer, of 
Talaiccenganam, 7, 17, 19, 39, 339. 
342, 343 ; gifts to, by Senguttuvan, 
20, 31 1 ; told the Kovalan party of 
the good dedtis of Kovalan, aoQff. ; 
told the story of Kovalan to Sen- 
guttuvan, 306-10; reported to Sen- 
guttuvan about the slight offered to 
him by the Cola and Faniya kings 
and asked the king to perform 
Vedic sacrifices, 319 ; account of 
the three ladies by, 341 

Madari, cowherdess of Madura, 5, 50, 
52, 65, 219, 231, 232, 234, 239^1., 
307, 328, 341 ; worshipped Krsna 

and Kavundi A^igaJ, 48 ; host of 
Kannaki, 215, 217, 218; turn of, to 
supply milk to the palace, 228 ; 
born as the daughter of Sedakku- 
dumbi, 341-2, 342W. ; talk with the 
Kovalan party, 214 

Madavi, a charming courtesan of 
Puhar, 2, 3, 4, 55, 6s, 79, 121, 155, 
144, 145, 146, 147, 149; born of 

Urvasi’s line, 123 ; attainments of, 
97f. ; charms of, iiS; music and 
dance hy, 103-4 * of gar- 

land of, 104-5 » captivation of 
Kovalan by, 105 ; life with Kova- 
lan, 107, 126-30; songs of, 131, 137, 
138-43 ; stay in her summer re- 
treat, 14s ; condition of, on K 5 va- 
lan’s departure and her letter to 
him, 192-3 ; birth of Manimekalai 
to, 210-11, 337M. ; story of, her sea- 
shore song made Kanaka and Vi- 
jaya bear weight, 306-7 ; turned 
a Buddhist, 308, 309, sogn., 329, 

32 gn., 330 ; false story of, told by the 
forest nymph to Kovalan, 178^* ; her 

yielding Manimekalai to a Buddhist 
saint, 214 

Madhyadesa, topography of, ziyn, 
Madura, the Papdyan capital, i, 2, 
4. 5» 6, 7, 45, 55, 63, 71, 77, 78, 
79, 80, 14s, 177, 178, 209, 214, 219, 
2i9n., 243, 245n., 275, 281, 285, 

307, 308, 3091 310, 32S, 332, 335; 
capital of Ariyappadaitanda Nedun- 
jeliyan, 32, 33 ; thirty leagues from 
Puhar, 158, i5gH. ; way to, descrip- 
tion of, i59ff., i9Sfi. ; goddess of, 
269 ; four temples of, 253 ; life in, 
196; dancing girls of, 224; descrip- 
tion of 201-8, 218; Kovalan and 

Kangaki start for, 155 ; destruc- 
tion of, prediction about, 26S ; blaz- 
ing of, 2 59ff. 

Maduratkkdnjiy 6 ^n.y 74^., Sin., 

io9n., iSgn.y 20m., 202n., 

2i8n., 227n., 263n., 286n*., 3i6n. 
Madurapati, the family deity of the 
Madura king, description of, 261, 
26in., 262, 263 
Magada, poets, 65, 295, 295n. 
Magadha, 26, 114, 320 
Mahdhhdrata, 8, 20in., 209?!., 23711., 
24812., 259/2., 304n- 
Mahakali, a name of Kor|;avai, 

MahalakvSmi, called KamaksI at 
Kanci, 49 
Mahamaya, 247^2. 

M ahdrd-jahani k alekhay 2 9 
MahCivamiay 15, 1522., 35 
Mahisasura, 261 

Mahisasuramardani, 18312., 26112. 
Mahisasuramardani (Korravai), 24712., 

Maiyurkilan, 12, len. 

Makkattayam, 12 
Malainadu, 7, 30 
Malati, story of, 151-3, 339'40 
Malaya (Podiyil hill), 296 
Malva, 7, king of, an ally of Sengut- 
^uvan, 26 ; present at the consecra- 
tion of Pattinidevi, agSn. ; the 
ruler *s prayer to Pattini, 343 
Manaikan, 330, 33on. 

Manakkilli, son of Karikala, 25, 31 
Manappadu, 278n. 



Mandaran Ceral king, a name of 
Palyanaicelkelu Kuttuvan, story of, 

Ma^?<^odarJ, 2S7«. 

MangalMevi, temple of, 339, 340 

Manivannan (Visnu), temple of, 156 

Mantmekalai, a mahakavya^ 8 ; writ- 
ten by Kulav^ikan Sittalai Satta- 
nar, 9, 67 ; speaks of Kanci, 10 ; a 
continuation of the SUappadikdram, 
346, 346n. ; 51, 52, 53, 77^., 22m., 
24on., 2 69n., 335 n., 328n. 

Manimekalai, daughter of Madavi, 
naming of, 210-11 ; given to the 
Buddhist saint, 214; renunciation 
of, 330^-, 337 » 337«-3 338; enter- 
tained Aravanadigal, 22in., left 
Puhar for Manipallavam, 32 ; stay- 
ed in Puhar for five years and re- 
turned to Vafiji, 17 

Maniimekalai, the deity, cursed that 
Puhar be swallowed by the sea, 
12 in. ; the guardian deity of the 
sea and the family deity of Kova- 
lan, 12 in. 

Manipallavam, 32 

Manka 4 u, Brahman of, talk with 
Kdvalan, lyaff. 

Manmatha, God of Lo\e, 154, i54n* 

Manram, 42, 53 

Manrappodiyil, 78 

Manunitikanda Colan, 38, 249n., 264 

Maran, Cupid, 145, i4Sn. 

Maravar, worshipped Aiyaikumari, 

Maravars or Eiynar, 56, 180, i84n., 
395* ; worshipped Aiyaikumari, 

Marive^ko, 33 

Marriage, types of, 56-7 ; of Kova- 
lan and Kaniiaki, 65 

Marumakkattdyam and the Ceras, 

I 2 lT. 

Mavuvurppdhkarn^ a division of Pu- 
har, III, I 12, I 13, i 28 n. 

Ma^attuvan, father of Kovalan, 88, 
S8«., 215^., 249 ; became an ascetic, 
328, 330, 33on. 

Mativanar, 59 

Mativanar-ndpahattatnilnUlf 71 

Matsya Pur ana, 28, 39, 39n., 97^., 

iign., i25n., 17911,, 301^., i85n.. 

187?!., iSgn. 

Matsya Pur ana, a study, ^izn. 
Mavankijli, 31 
Maya, 92, 92n,, 115 
Mayamatam, a work on architecture, 

May aval, dance of, 125 
Mayavan (Kr^^ia), 229, 231, 232, 233, 
234» 237 

Mayidavolu plate, 10 
Mayon, Krs^xa, 47, 58 
Menon, Acyuta, C., 248n. 

Mohur, Senguttuvan’s success in the 
naval battle of, 18 ^ 

Moon God, worship of, 50 ; temple 
of, 152 

Mucukunda, 32, 113, ii3n., kept 

watch over Amaravati, 122, i22n., 

of Puhar line, 53 
Muhavai song, 162 
Murugan (Subrahmagya), 2, 7, 47, 

278 ; married Valli, 49 ; worship 
of, 58, 151 

Murugavel Kunram, a hill sacred to 
Muruga, 7 
Music, 146 
Musical treatises, 71 
Music, South Indian, 59^. 

Musiri, a port of the Cera country, 

MutturlckCirram, lyin. 

Naccinarkkiniyar, 74, 114^., Jiyn., 

iSgw., I99n., 24in., 253, 253n. ; 

division of the Tamil land into four 
provinces by, 43 

Nadu, division of the empire into, 42 
Nallanduvandr, 66 

Nalamkilli (Ilamkilli), 31; son M 
Peruvirarkilli, 25 
NamaHvdya, iy6n. 

Nanmaran, a title of Ilamjeliyan, 33 
Nannan Venman, the V^elir chieftain 
defeated by Senguttuvan, 17 
Nappinnai, zzgn. 

Narada, Vedic bard, 123, 188, 234 



Narasimha, an avatar of Visnu, kill- 
ed Hiranyakasipu, 236, 236H. 
Xftrayana, 177M., 238 

Narconai, daughter of Coian Manak- 
kilU, wife of Kudavarkoman 
Nedumceralatan and mother of 
Senguttuvan, 12, 13, 24, 25 

Nurmudicceral, 235w* 

X^armudicceralatan, ruled in north 
Kongu, 14 
Narritiaiy 64, 

Natakam, i 
N atahanid, 64 
Ndttiyanamjuh lOJ^n. 

Xdtkdl, 63 

Nediyon (Vis»u), 117, 257 
Xedumal, 239 

N edumhalninramanraui y 1 15 
Nedumkilli, son of Maiiakkilli, ruled 
at Uraiyur, 25 ; father of Perum- 
kilH and uncle of Senguttuvan, 31 
Nedumu 4 ikilji, the C 51 ,a king, i2on. 
N e^unalvd^ai, 15 in. 

Neduhjeliyan, of Talaiyalanganain 
fame, son of Ilamjeliyan, 33, 63, 

8 in., 332 ; conquests and achieve- 
ments of, 45, 271-2 ; proclamation 

of, 40 j ordered the execution of K6- 
valan, 32 ; his brother’s garland 
stolen by a thief, 226-7 5 sense of 
justice of, 36 

Neduvel, a name of Cupid, 203 ; hill 
sacred to, 270, 2*/on. 
Neduvelkunram, hill reached by Kan-> 
naki, 50 

Nerivayil near Uraiyur, battle at, 18, 
19, 321 
X^erur, 44 

Nigranthas, temple of, 152 ; sect of, 

Nila, a messenger of Senguttvan, 37 
3 i 9 » 320 

Nilagiri, 296, 296n- 
Nili, wife of Sangaman, i88, 269 
North India, condition of, in the 
early centuries of the Christian 
era, 25ff. 

Nurruvar Kannar, 27ff., 312 ; ordered 
to prepare a fleet to cross the 
Ganges, 29S, 298^., 299, 


Omens, bad, 223, 228, 229, 246 
Orutandai or Orutandai, 12 
Ottakfittar, 72 

Ovar, Oviyar, a tribe, 297, 
Oviyanulf 64 

Oviyar, see < 3 var, a tribe, 297, 

Padiyriippattu, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 24, 

27, 6 

5 . 67. 


31617., 327^^'^ 


323 M-. 

33 S«- : 

list of eight 


in, 1 1 



swallowed by the sea, 

44, 1 72 n. 

Palai Gautamanar, 65, 26512., 322 

Palaiyan, the Lord of Mohur, 309, 

Fallavas, not mentioned by the twin 
epics, 10; not come to power at the 
beginning of the Christian era, 29- 


Palli, used to denote a Jaina temple, 
64, 19912. 

Palmyra, garland of, 294, 297, 306, 
309, 3 1 1, 312, 322, used by the 

Palyagasalai-Mudukudumi, 65 

Palyanai-celkelu-kuttuvan, younger 

brother of Imayavaramban, ii, 12, 
13, 65, 265, 266n., 32221. ; proclama- 
tion of, 268 

Pancabdratiyam, 64 

Pancaksava^ sacred to Siva, 63, 17612., 

PancaniantYa, the Pancaksara and 
Namasivaya of the Jains and re- 
presenting the first letters of 
Pancaparames^ins, 16012. 

Paficamatapu, 71 

Pancmta'tnaskdrani, see Paficamantra, 

PancaparamesUns, Jaina Yogins, 
15712., 16017. 

Pancatantra, 2nn., 21212. 

Pancavan, a title of the Piindyan 
king, 247, 247n., 335 

Paridavas, 237, 238, 304n., 335 

Pandithar, Abraham, 6012., 23117. 




Fandu, zogn. 

Pandya, sceptre ot, swerved from 

the righteous path, 227, 241 ; be- 

came bent, 243 

Fandyan king, acknowledged ruler 

by all the kings of Jambudvipa, 
228 ; wore a margosa garland, 

225n., wore Indra’s garland, 195 

Fandyan kingdom, 32-3, 44, 46 
Fandyan umbrella and sceptre, fall of, 
249 ; king, death of, 249-50 
Pandyas, ancestry of, 190, 19OW., 


Pa^ikkar, Gopala, T. K., 31811. 
I^araiyur, 318 

Paranar, a Sangam poet, 9, 912. ; 

contemporary of Ijango, 67, 68 ; 

gifts to, 12, 20 ; praise of 8enguttu- 
van by, 17, 19 

Parasara, account of, 264-8 

Parimelalagar, 2 1 812, 

Paripd 4 al, 66, 8 gn. 

Far vat 1, 280 

Pasanda, ninety-six modes of, 298, 

Pasanda gods, worship of, 50, 

Pasandan (Sattan), 339 
Pasandas, heretical sects, 51 
Fasupatikoil, 49, 29412. 

Paltavarttanam, the Cera State ele- 
phant, 2 94«- 

Pattimandapam^ 114, 11412. 

Pattinam, a name of KaveripaLtmam, 

Pattinappakkani, a division of Fuhar, 
112, 11212., 113, 12912., 163 

Paftinappdlaij 22, 132, 30122- 

Pattini, goddess, the date of the con- 
secration of, 14 ; grants to the 
temple of, by Senguttuvan, 342 ; 
stone slab for the carving of the 
image of, carried by Kanaka and 
Vijaya and bathed in the Ganges, 
304-5 ; 1,000 goldsmiths sacrificed 

to, 309 

Pattini cult, 1 5 ; Senguttuvan, the 
originator of, 69 

Pattinidevi, 37 ; release of prisoners 
at the time of the consecration of, 
39 ; consecration of, 29811. 

Pattinikkadavul, a name for Kari- 
naki, consecration of a temple to, 
7, 81 

Pattinikkottam, temple to Pattinidevi, 
consecrated by Senguttuvan, 


PdLfudaicceyyul (Campu), 3 
PattuppdttUy 66 , 1 1 1 / 2 . 

Pdvaimanram^ 116 
PeripluSi 46 
Periyapurdnaniy 174/2. 

Periyar, R., same as Ponnani, 284 
Periidanam, 205/1. 

Perumakan, an epithet fpr Aihat, 163, 

PerumceralMan (Jmayavaramban 

Nedumceralatan), wounded at Ven- 
ni by Karikala, 13 
Perumceral, son of Selvakkaduhgo 
and Velavikkoman Fadumandevi, 

Perumceral Irumporai, 1 1 
Perumdevanar, author of the Tamil 
Bdratam^ 3 

Peyiimkdppiyain (mahakavya), i 
Perumkilli, 31 ; built a temple for 
Pattinikkadavul, 81 
Peninipufjdzztippadai, written by 
Uruttiran Kannanar, celebrates Ilam- 
tiraiyan, 10 

Perundl, king’s birthday, 38 
Ferunarkilli, same as Permiikijli, the 
Cola king at Uraiyur, 7, 25, 

also called KilHvalavan, 33, 309/2. ; 
king at Uraiyur when the temple 
of Kannaki was established at 
Vahji, 32 

Perumdevi, the queen, 247 
Peruvirarkilli, died on the battlefield 
with Nedumceralatan, 25 
Filial, Sivaraja, K. N., 9/2., 210/1. 
Pinnai (Nappinnai), 229, 231, 233, 

234, 23411. ; Kannaki compared to, 

221, 22 1/1. ; dance of, 59 
Pinrerkkuravaif a kind of war dance. 
302, 302/2. 

Pitari (Camundi), 247/2, 

Pliny, 45 

Podiyil, hill (Malaya), sacred to Aga- 
stya, 46, 87, 97, 107/2., 145, 204, 

210/1., 287, 296 



Poduviyal, a branch of dramaturgy, 
99, 205 

Ponnani, river, also called Periyar, 


Ponni (Kaveri), 251 
Pot;aiyan, a title of the Cera king, 
30, 266, 26672., 309, 334, 336 
Poraiyan Perumdevi, daughter of 
Orutandai or Orutandai, wife of 
Anduvan, and mother of Selvakka-* 
dungo, 12 
Porunai, 266 

Prabhakaravardhana, worshipped the 
sun; 52 ^ 

Prataparudra, 2 1 

Proclamation • of Palyanaiselkelu 
Kuttuvan, 268 
Ptolemy, 28, 46, 8771. 

Puhiir, the capital of Karikalaccojtan ; 
ruled over by Mavankilli or Killi- 
valavan, 2, 3, 24, 31, 53, 77, 87, 
877Z‘., 88, 92, 122, 123, 133, 145, 

14577., 163, 24S, 253, 235, 26.^, 328. 

329, 333» 333»-, 334. 335; 

approximates to the modern city of 
Madras, 115; description of the 
streets in, 127-g ; Indravihara of, 
51; life at, 106-7, 110-19; sung 

about by Madavi, 138-9 ; condition 
of, after Kovalan left the place, 
i92ff- ; ruin of, by the erosion of 
the sea, 32 ; section on, contents of, 

Puharselva, a title of the Cera 
kings, 31 
Pulindas, 17972. 

Puliyan, a title of the Cera kings, 

30 > 43 

Pumpuhar (see Puhar), 82, 12077., 329, 

Ptirananuiu, ii, 22, 23, 33, 64, 66, 67, 
Purahceri, igSn. 

Rahu, 119 

Rajasuyamvetta Perunarkilli, 65 
Rajendra Cola, 31872. 
Rajyavardhana, a Buddhist, 52 

Rama, 30472., went to forest under 
his father’s command, 193, 19377. ; 

conquest of Ceylon by, 237??. 
Ramanayya, Dr N. V., 2477. 
Rdinayai^ia, 8, 20, 13777., 17572., 20072., 
20372., 21377'., 21472., 23777., 25077., 

252, 26271., 28677., 28777., 32272., 


Ranganatha temple at Karur, 48 
Rati, Kannaki, compared to, 96 
Ravana, 28677., 28772., 30472. 

Release from prison, 342 

Religion, of royalty, cosmopolitan, 


Religious data in the epic, 47f- 
Revenue of the State, 40 
Rewards for the sons of heroic 
rulers who fell in battle, 305-6 
Rig Vedic Culture ^ 11677. 

Royal amusements, 38 
Rudra (Uruttiran), 300 
Rural amusements, 161-2 

Sabhdi 42 

Sabhd hall, in the heart of Vanji, 31S 
Sabaras, 17972. 

Saivism, 48 

Sakkayan, a dancing expert, 318, 319 
Sakkayar, account of, 31872., 31977. 
Sakti, other names of, 17972. 

Salini, born of the Maravar family, 
180, 181, 18212., 18472., 190 ; the 

prophecy of, 183 
Samana sect, 52 
Samari, 183 
Sambandar, 25377. 

Samudragupta, 23 

Sangam, works, epoch, date of, Sff., 


Sangaman of (Singapuram), 78 ; story 
of, 2 68-9 ; killed by Baratan (Ko- 
valan), 6 

Sahjayan, the chief ambassador of 
Senguttuvan, 37, 298, 29872., 299 
Sankara, K. G., S972. 

Sankari, 18S 
Saravanai, 278 
Saravanam, a pond, 175 



SaravanappumpalH, 27S 
Sarasvati, 183, 26in. 
i5asta, temples of, 51 
Sastri, Ki'ishna, H., 10, 2411. 

Sastri, Nilakanta, 1571., 24W., 457^* » 

10372., 11422., 21022. 

.Sastri, Seshagiri, 1522, 

Sastri, Subrahmanya, V. G., 9922. 
Satakarni, 29822. 

Satakarni and the Nurruvar Kannar, 
27ff. ; refers to Yajhasri Satakarni 
or Pulumayi, 28 
Satrughna, 20 

Satta, caravan trade, 17822. 

Sattan, a heretical sect, 51 
Sattan story of (Fasandan), 339, 340 ; 
learned Pasandan, temple of, 152, 
15222. ; worship of, 50 
Sattan, anthor of the Manimehalai, 
77“8 o ; narrated the story of Kanna- 
ki, 285-6 

Sattanar, a poet, 7, 33722- 
Saturn, 160 

Savakas, Jaina householders, 216, 
2 i6w., 217 

Sedakkudumbi in the service of Visi^u, 
father of Madari, 339, 342 
Seliyan, a title of the Pandya king, 
247, 24722. 

Sellandi Amman, temple of, the meet- 
ing place of three Tamil kingdoms, 

Selvakkadung5-Valiyatan, son of 
.\nduvan and Poi-aiyan Pcrumdevi 
and father of Ferumceral, ii, 12, 13 
Sembiyan, an epithet for the Cola 
king, 91, 9in-, 144, 319 
Senguttuvan, son of KudavarkSman- 
Nedumceralatan, and Narconai, and 
brother of Ilangd, 12, 32, 33, 66, 
77» 8 i22., 26622., 27122., 29822., 

317. 327, 331. 332, 336, 3 


343 » 

34322, ; married Ilango 

Venma] ; 

father of Kuttuvan Ceral, 

12 ; 

paternal and maternal lines of, 

13 ; 

Paranar’s reference to, 

922. ; 


orthodox Hindu, 48, 52, 



69, 29422, ; amusements 



military establishment of, 



a contemporary of Karikala, 


officers of, 37 ; mai'ch of, to the 
Himalayas, 41, 2g2ff. ; an ally of 
the kings of Avanti, Vajra and 
Magadha, 23; and Karikffia, 2^^, 
2427 , 25 ; northern expedition of, 

7, 26f. ; battle of, on the Ganges 
54 ; battle with the confederacy of 
the northern kings, 300-2 ; con- 
quests of, 289-90, 291 ; period of his 
northern expedition, 16-17 ; re- 
wards of, to the sons of those who 
fell in battle, 305-6 ; talk with 
Madalan, 306 ff. ; heard that his 
success was lightly sppken by the 
C51a and Pandya kings, 319-20, 321 ; 
was advised to perfcfrm sacrifices, 
322-4 ; made tuldhdraddnmn, 39 ; 
presentation of, to Madalan ; gave 
leave to all to go back to their 
homes, 311-12 ; return to the capi- 
tal, 313, 315 ; released the Aryan 
kings, and remitted taxes, 324-5 ; 
relations with Cejdon, 35 ; spoken 
to by Devandi, Madari, Aiyai, 

32811., saw Kannaki’s divine form, 

331 ; achievements of, 17-18, 345» 

34527., an estimate of his character, 

Seyiiriyandr, 59 

Seyon, Murugan or Velan, 47 

Sibi Cakravarti, 24822., 24922., 26422., 

31127., 33322- 

.^ilappadikdratn , ii, 12, 16, 18, 23, 

25i 27, 29, 31, 32, 34, 37, 43, 47, 

48, 5o» 5i» 52, 53> 61, 64, 66, 70, 

79, 137^^-, 17427., 17522., 18222., 

18322., 19522., 21727., 23027., 24222., 

25327., 26422., 26922., 28222., 28522'-, 

29822., 31327., 32922. ; meaning and 

contents of, 1-2, 346, 34622. ; the 

form of, 2-3 ; the story of, 3-8 ; its 
place in the 8angam works, 8-10 ; 
commentaries on, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74 

Silambaru, 175 

Silatala, worshipped by Kovalan and 
Kannaki, 157, 163 
Simha, see Singan, 300 
Singan (Simha), 26, 300 
Singapura, a city in Kalinga, 34, 78 ; 

Capital of Vasu, 26S, 26827, 
Sirudanam, 20512. 



Sii;umalai, a hill, 174, 203 
Sita, igyn. 

Sittalai Sattanar, 285^. 

Siva, 47, 66, 69, 93, 117, i8i. iS3m., 
1S5W., 248, 25111., 258, 294, 296, 
319, 320; dance of, 124; his burn- 
ing of Cupid, 1 19, 119W. ; templ‘d 

of, 199 ; worship of, 58 
Sivakasi, 265W. 

Siva Sri Pulumayi, 28 
Sivetan (Siveta), 26, 300 
Skanda, 331 
Smith, V, A., i6n. 

So foi'tress, ^37, 237M, 

Some Aspects of the Vdyu Ptirdna^ 

South India, political condition of, at 
the beginning of the Christian era, 


Somaktu^danij 154 

Somatlrthmn, at Tiruvenkadu, i54«* 
Spring, a friend of Cupid, 145, 147, 
150; minister of king Sun, 173 
Srikoil, outside Puhar, iiS 
Srirangam, also called Turutti, 163, 
I 72 n. 

Stage, description of, loif. 

Studies in Cola History and Admini^- 
stration, 240., 2101?. 

Studies in Tamil Literature and 
History^ 8, 10311., 11712., 19112. 

20312., 20912., 24912., 319M. 

Subrahman3?a, 66, 88w., 8g, 94, 117, 

17112., 27012., 27512., 277, 278 ; cock 

flag of, 199 ; dances of, 124, 125, 

12512. ; places of worship of, 49 ; 

hill sacred to, 27012. 

Suddhdnandappirakdia, a musical 
treatise, 9712., ioi«. 

Sulliyaru, a river in the Cera country, 

Sun, cult of, 24112. 

Sun God, worship of, 50, 52, 64 ; 

king, 173 ; temple of, 156 
Superstitions, 62f. 

Sura, destruction of, 124 
Suryakufj 4 ^my 154 

Suryatlrtham, at Tiruvenkadu, 15412* 
Suta, 65, 295, 29517. 

Svamimalai, 27712. 

Svayambhuva, 16412, 

Takkaydgapparani, 72 
Talaiccenganam, Talaiccengadu, near 
Kaveripattinam, 20912. 

Talaiccengadu same as Taliccenga- 
nam, 20912- 

Talaikkdl, represented by Jayanta, 
53, 58, 102, 103, 205, 320 
Tambiran, a technical term for 

king, 2471?. 

Tamhirdtti^ a technical term for 

queen, 24712. 

Tamil country, boundaries of, 145, 

346 ; divisions of, 43 

Tamil Studies, 1212. 

Tangal, identified Tiruttangal, near 
Sivakasi, 265, 26512. 267, 26712. 

Tanuttaran (Dhanurdhara), 26, 300 

Taranatha, 28, 17512. 

Tarunilaikkdttam, temple of the Kal- 
paka, 1 16 

Temples, to different deities, 151-2 
Tennavan, the ruler of the southern 
region, 171, 204, 243, 247, 307, 331 
Tennavar Kon, 28217. 

Tevdram, 10, 20911., 25312., 32112. 

The Chronology of the Early Tamils, 
19, 21012. 

The Kdveri, the Maukharis and the 
Sangam, 32012. 

The Maury an Polity, 2012., 20111. 

The Matsya Purdna, 27712., 280 n. 

The Pallavas of Kdnci, 10 
The Pdndyan Kingdom, 45, 10311. 
Thieves, eight aids employed by, 225-6 
Thomas, F. W., 28 
Tiger, emblem of the Cola king, 
22817. ; cai'ved on the Himalayas, 


Tiruccendur, 49, 27017., 278 
Tiruccengdeju, 49, 27012. 

Tirukkarur, identified with Vanji, 44 
Tirukkural, 95, 10712. 

Tirumal, 236, 237 

Tirumalirumsolai, a name of Tiru- 
malk unram, 17512. 

Tirumalkunram, a hill near Madura, 
i75» 175^- 

Tirumavalavan, a title of Karikala, 

Tirumudangai, temple at, 253 
Tirunallaru, temple of, 25312. 



Tirupati hills, ^23, 145, i 73 »^* 
Tirupparankunram, 270^. 

Tiruttangal, same of Tangal, 265 j 2, 

Tiruvaduvur, 253 
Tiruvalavai, temple ol, 253W. 
Tiruvarangam, 17 in. 

Tiriivilaiyddal Piirdnci'iii^ 2i4n., 


ToUzdfpiyam^ 47, 56, 6j{, 66, 162??., 

17577., 22 177 ., 251)7., 329)1-. 

Tolkappiyanar, 175, 2i2n. 

Tondaman IJam-Tiraiyan, a Tiraiyar 
chief and a Cola viceroy at KahcT, 

Tondi, a port of the Cera country, 
43, 204«. 

Toviyamadandai, an aged dancing 
girl, 206 

Totaimlaicceyyult i 
Town life, 53-5 

Treasure trove, belonged to the dis- 
coverer, 40 

Tributes of hill tribes, 284-5 
Trilocana Pallava, 24 24)1. 

Tripura, 58 
Trivandrum, 48 
Trivikramavatar, lyyn., 236«. 
Tuldhdraddnam^ made by Senguttuvan 
to Madalan, 39, 31 1 
Tunes, fourteen, of music, 146, 147 
T uh jiyilerinda-todittot-^embiyan in- 

troduced Indra’i^ festival at Pum- 
puhar, 120W. 

Turner, W. J., 60 

Turutti, refers to 8rirangam, 172, 

Udaya hill, no 
Udiyanceral, a Cera king, ii 
Ugra Pandyan, 1723?. 

Ujjain, J23 

Ukkirappemvaludi, a contemporary 
of PerunarkilH and Cera Mariven- 
ko, 33 

Uma, 18537., 319, 320; kept time while 
Siva danced,, 124; in the form of 
Mahisasuramardhani, 26137. 
Uragapuram, see Uraiyur, 46 
Uraippdttu, S 
Urandai, 145, 14537* 

Uraiyasiriyar (Ijampuranar), 8 
Uraiyidaiyiffa Pdtfudaicceyyul (Cam- 
pu). 0 

Urai3"ur, a capital of the Cola king- 
dom, 4, 7, 18, 46, 81, 167, 171, 

171)1. ; became important on 
the destruction of Puhar, 32 ; ruled 
by ManakiJU and Ne^umkilli-5 25, 


Uruttiran, 36 
Uruttiran (Rudra), 300 
Uruttiran Kannanar, author of 
Perumpdnarruppadai, 10 
Urva^i, 58 ; cursed by Agastya, 97, 

Osalvari (song to accompany svring- 

ing). 9 

Uttara, see Uttaran, 300 
Uttaragautta, origin and life of his 
son, 216 
Uttaran, 300 
Uttiran, 26 

Vaccira (Vajra), 320 
Vaccirakkottam, a temple, 116 
Vacciranadu, 114 
Vadukar, 34 

Vaduku^ a kind of dance, 104, 10432. 
Vaduvar, worshipped Aiyai-Kumari, 

Vaigai, 2, 4, 46, 201, 239, 270, 271, 
332, 341 ; description of, ipbff. 
Vaisnavism, 48 
Vaisya-bhutam, 257-8 
Vaitalikas, 295 
Vajra, 26 

Vajra, temple of, 151 ; worship of, 



Vajrakottam, 53 

Valavan, the Cola king who carved 
a tiger on the Himalayas, 235 
V'alaivanan, king of Naganadu, i20?z. 
V’aliyon, (Baladeva), 117 
Valli, 275, 275n. ; Ku^ava girl, 281 
Valluvars, the Private Secretaries ol 
kings, 3 i8«. 

Vanavan, refers to Senguttuvan, 314, 


Vanjanai^ 100 

Vahji, 145, 235, 241, 283, 296, 310, 
312, 317, 322, 324, 328, 334 Wm 336 
Vahji, ruler^of, Karikala’s son-in-law, 
22 ; spies at, 37 ; left for by Aravana 
Adiga], 12171 . ; Senguttuvan return- 
ed to, 315, 316 
Vanjikkdn^am, contents of, 345 
Vanjikkaruvur, capital of the Cera 
kingdom, 14, 30, 43, 287n. ; identi- 
lication of, 44 
Vahjikkon, 252 

'l"afi]imd}iagar, ^4, 28411., 322 a. 

V ankanasikatissa, 1 5 
Varanam, Uraiyur, 167, 171 

Varanasi, Benares, 216 
\'ar6ttama, a nymph, account of, 


Varttikan, story of, 266-7 
Varuna, a sea-god, 47, 51, 64, 13312. 
\'asantamala, maid of Madavi, 130, 
147, 149, i49n., 150 ; communicated 
news of Kovalan to Madavi, 193 
Vasantamala, forest deity in the 
guise of, talk with Kovalan, lySd. 
Vasiska, 29 
Vasistha, 18911. 

Yasu, king, ruled at Singapuram, 6, 
34, 26S, 26811. 

Vasudeva, worship of, at Tirumal- 
kunram, 175 
Vasudeva-Krsna, 183^1- 
V'asuki, 183, 236 
Vedic deities, worship of, 51 
Velala Bhutam, 258-9 
Velan, 27S ; 27SW. 

Velavikko, mansion of, 325 
Velavikkoman, 13 

Velavikkomandevi, wife of Kudakko- 
Nedumceralatan and mother of 5 .dii- 
kotppattucceralatan, 12 

Velavikkoman Padumandevi, wife of 
Selvakkadungo and mother of 
Perumceral, 12 
Velan, 47 

Velanpani, 284, 2S4n. 

Ved.apparppan, 19221. 

Velir chiefs, 283^1. 

Velkelu Kuttuvan, another name for 
Senguttuvan, 19 

Veiiyan-Venmal Nallini, wife of Udi- 
yan Ceral, ii 
Velliambalam, 78 
Vellitaimanram, i 
Venhdy 9 

V’enkatam, Tirupati, 173, 346 
Venkunram, 277 
Venkunru, 49 
Venmai, 31S 

Venmal-Anduvan Cellai, daughter of 
Maiyurkilan and mother of Ilani- 
Ceral, 12 

Venni (Veni^il), 13 ; identified with 
Koyilvenni near Mannargudi, 13U. 
Veri velan (Skanda), 331, 33 iff. 

Venmai (Ilango Venma]), wife of 
8enguttuvan, 12, 13 
Venus, 160 

Vcr|;iverceliyan, of Korkai, 32 ; sacri- 
ficed 1,000 goldsmiths, 81 
Ver Seliyan, (Verriverceliyan), ruler 
of Korkai, offered 1,000 goldsmiths, 
309 ; as a sacrifice to Pattini, 30911. 
Vetfiyalj a branch of dramaturgy, 99 
Vefitivavart (hill song), 8 
Vibhavari, a name of Aiyaikumari, 

Vibhavari, story of, i85n. 

Vicittiran, 26, 300 

Vidyadhara, 21 1 ; description of the 
Indra festival b}^ to his wife, i22ff. 
Vijaya, son of Balakumara, 28, 35, 

332 ; gsve battle to Senguttuvan. 
but was defeated, 7, 26, 300, 301 ; 
carried the image of Pattini, 304. 
306, 3 o 6«'. ; sent back, 312 ; released 
from prison, 342 ; spoke disparag- 
ingly of the Tamil kings, 299, 
39911. ; identification with Vijaya- 
kirti of Khotan, 28, 29 
Vijayaditya, Calukya, 24 
Vikramacola, a farani on, 72 



Village administration, 42-3 

Village life, 55-6 

Villavan Kodai, minister of Sengut- 
tuvan, 37, 289, 3oe, 324 

Vina, kinds of, 61 

Vinytavarhomdn Vilunul, a work attri- 
buted to Indra, i75n. 

Visnu (Ne^iyon), 66, 69, xiy, 12511-, 
* 45 t 156* 172, i77n-, 1S3, 183^., 284, 
295 ; father of Brahma, 2oo«. ; dance 
of, 124, 125, 125W ; temple of, 199 ; 

served by Sedakkudumbi, 242, 342n. 

Vtsriu Piirdna, iSgn. , 22 in., 228n-, 

229M., 235W., 236?x., 237K., 3io«. 

Viyalur, the capital of Nannan Ven- 
man, 321, 32i«. ; occupied by Sen- 
guttuvan, 17 

Wilhelm Geiger, 15 

Women, drinking habit of. 161 ; life 
of, 54-5 

Warfare in the period. 40-1, an ancient ruling tribe in 

South India, 214, apbw. ; eariv 

history of, I75n*, 176W. 

I'd 7 , varieties of, ggn. 

Vtima, 120, 179 
Yamuna, 233 

Yasdda, 236«. 

Yavanas, 27, no, 322n?,^ 335 ; swords- 
men, 20in.